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Full text of "Across the continent:"

TERRITORI ES5PACIFICSTATES 

(^to Accampait>r ) 



B:r SAMUEL BOWLES, 
XewEditioiL 1868. 



Fini^hedy R.IU . 



— Moiile trcweled Try 
SCALE FQRGEEKERAL MAP & Party 



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j:ntert,iaccordingmActofQmtressia.1fie\eaiIu66b%'(iAr.&(MCoUo7i. iaAe Qerh 0^ajfxMJ>Lstrut 



Across the Continent: 



A SUMMER'S JOURNEY 



TO THE 



ROCKY MOUNTAINS, THE MORMONS, 
AND THE PACIFIC STATES, 

WITH SPEAKER COLFAX. 




By SAMUEL BOWLES, 

Editor of The Springfield (Mass.) Republican. 



SPRINGFIELD, MASS. : 

SAMUEL BOWLES & COMPANY. 

NEW YORK : 

KURD & HOUGHTON. 

I 868. 



Bit 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by 

SAMUEL BOWLES & COMPANY, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massa- 
chusetts. 

pniy. of Mich. 
AUG 2 6 1938 



SAMUEL BOWLES AND COMPANY, 

Printers and Binders. 



^ 






Introductory Letter 

TO THE 

Hon. SCHUYLER COLFAX, 

speaker of the United States House of Representatives. 



My Dear Mr. Colfax: — 

It was so pleasant and so profitable to travel with you during the 
summer, — ^your amiability and your popularity so readily unlocked 
all mysteries, and made all paths so straight; even Nature gave 
lander welcome to your progress than her wont ; that I would fain 
go along with you still farther, and ensure by your presence summer 
skies for this story of our observations, this record of our experi- 
ences. Besides, the book is more yours than mine. Your friend- 
ship gave me the opportunity for the travel ; your favoring thought 
first suggested to me the then strange idea that the Letters should 
be put together into a volume ; and your wide and close observation 
and your quick Insight helped me to much of the material and the 
statistic. So I may rightly claim the favor of your name, and the 
charm of your company, in this new and unexpected trip into au- 
thor-land. 

You know how strange it seemed to us that our party were almost 
the first who had ever traveled Across the Continent simply to see 
the country, to study its resources, to learn its people and their 
wants, and to acquit ourselves more intelligently, thereby, each in 
our duties to the public, — you in the Government, and we as jour- 



iv INTRODUCTORY LETTER 

nalists. How strange, too, the idea was to the people along our 
route. They could not well believe that we did not come on a 
selfish mission of some sort ; some secret governmental service ; to 
see how they could best be taxed; to locate the Pacific Railroad; 
to make a bargain with the Mormons ; to regulate the politics of 
the distant States, — at least to speculate in mines, and buy corner 
lots. When the fact was realized, while the many felt gratified and 
flattered, and showed such feeling in a hospitality that had no meas- 
ure, there were some, you remember, who could not repress the 
genuine American contempt for whatever is not tangible and real 
and money-making ; and I am afraid we passed in not a few minds 
for what, in mining vernacular, are known as "bummers." 

So I could hardly realize, until I examined the subject, that there 
was in our literature no connected and complete account of this great 
Western Half of our Continent. People had visited it in plenty; its 
whole population, indeed, is drawn from the East; scholars are 
abundant on the Pacific Coast, — indeed, it is claimed as fact that San 
Fraucisco and vicinity hold more college graduates, in proportion to 
population, than any other city in the country ; but they have gone 
with other objects than to see, to study, and to describe ; they are 
dealing with materialities, and, as a rule, have taken little time to 
look about them, and observe the fantastic fashions of Nature, to 
worship the majestic beauty, to comprehend the varied resources of 
an Empire, that belong to their new Home. Starr King had written 
home of a few single features in California scenery; Dr. Bellows 
came back penetrated with wide and deep sense of the marvels he 
had seen, but the public only got glowing address and magazine 
article or two from him in detail ; Fitzhugh Ludlow created wader 
interest by his brilliant but few and disconnected papers in the 
"Atlantic Monthly," on special themes in the journey; and the pen- 
cil of his artist-companion, Bierstadt, has caught the glow and the 
inspiration and the majesty of some chief natural wonders in these 
distant regions, and spread them on immortal canvass, to excite a 
world's wonder and whet a world's curiosity. But only enough had 



TO SPEAKER COLFAX. V 

been written, only enough was known of the Nature, of the material 
resources, of the social and industrial development of these vast 
Plains and Mountains between the Mississippi River and the Pacific 
Ocean, to make market for more. So we have open field for our 
story, and hungry market for our harvest. So my Letters are 
rescued from the destined oblivion of daily journalism to figure in 
covers. 

You will see that they bear substantially their original shape. 
Here and there is an addition ; here and there, an irrelevant para- 
graph is excised ; but they serve better to convey true ideas of the 
country we passed through, in preserving the fireshness of the origi- 
nal composition. They are not a Diary of a personal journey ; nor 
a Guide-Book; nor a Hand-Book of statistics; but they aim to 
give, with compactness and comprehensiveness, the distinctive ex- 
periences of the Overland Journey ; to describe, as vividly as I may, 
the various original scenery that the route and the country offer ; to 
portray the social and material developments of the several States 
and Territories we visited, — their present and their future, their 
realization and their capacity ; and to develop to the people of the 
East and to the Government their share in the interests and hopes 
of the West, — what duties they had to perform, what benefits they 
might hope to reap. It was a large field to cover with the travel 
and the study of a single summer; to see, collate and digest the ma- 
terials of half a Continent ; but never did travelers find more gener- 
ous facilities than we ; and to opportunity, such as was never granted 
to others, we certainly brought intelligent interest and enthusiasm, 
and the trained eyes and ears and the educated instincts of journal- 
ism. We certainly brought, too, independence and integrity to our 
observation ; and in alf essential affairs, our conclusions were sin- 
gularly coincident. 

So we have assumed the responsibility and earned the duty of 
Truth-speaking. And on those great, pressing public themes of the 
Pacific Railroad, the Mormons, and the Mines, I would have you 
bespeak for my revelations and discussions the attentive ear of the 



VI INTRODUCTORY LETTER 

eastern public. Neither Government nor people seem half alive to 
the pressing importance of either. The Railroad is, indeed, the 
great work of the day ; the great want, the great revealer, the great 
creator of this Empire of ours wesf of the Mississippi. It is cheer- 
ing to find that, since we went over the Plains, labor upon the eastern 
end of this Road has had a new impetus ; to learn that new elements 
of capital and enterprise have become engaged ; and that on both the 
two main branches, from Kansas City and from Omaha, the Road is 
worked for sixty miles west of the Missouri, and by spring will be 
opened for one hundred. But I find no proper conception in the 
East of the progress which should and may be attained in the work. 
A hundred miles a season seems to be regarded as great achieve* 
ment; whereas the company, that takes more than two years to 
cross the Plains and reach the Rocky Mountains, is unworthy its 
charter, recreant to its generous trusts. There is no vanity in de- 
manding the completion of the entire line in five years; what is 
being done on the Sierra Nevadas proves this ; there is only wanton 
waste of wealth, only stubborn disregard and neglect of great na- 
tional responsibilities in being longer about it. 

With regard to the Mormons, too, we all saw that the time had 
come for a new departure, for a new policy by the Government. 
The conflict of sects and civilization, growing up there in Utah, will 
soon solve the polygamous problem, — rightly and without blood- 
shed, — if the Government will make itself felt in it with a wise 
guardianship, a tender nursing, a firm principle. You will see I 
give a supplementary chapter to this subject, to let the Mormon 
leaders strip off for themselves the thin disguise of loyalty and dis- 
position to succumb, which they wore during our visit. 

I rely on you, also, to enforce my cautions on the subject of 
Mining. That great interest is in danger of real injury from 
feverish speculation, and false and unwise investments. Of the 
wealth of the regions we visited, in gold and silver ore, no adequate 
conception can be formed or expressed; the mind stands amazed 
before its revelations ; but it does not lie around loose on the sur- 



TO SPEAKER COLFAX. Vll 

face of the ground, and is not to be exploited in brokers' offices in 
Wall street and "The City." Patient and intelligent labor, in fields 
well-chosen for their nearness to markets and to supplies, with capi- 
tal and skill and integrity, are the inevitable laws of great success 
in mining. The first need of our mining regions is the Pacific Rail- 
road, to equalize prices and enforce morals and system in the busi- 
ness ; the second is improved processes for working the ore. These 
gained, and no interest is likely to make more valuable returns for 
well-invested capital and labor. A Mining Bureau in connection 
with the Government is a desideratum, always provided its head 
shall be a man of special intelligence and divine integrity. A char- 
latan and a rascal, or one prone to become the victim of such, would 
make such an institution a curse to both country and Government. 

New and valuable mineral discoveries are rapidly being made in 
all our Pacific States ; the season has been one of industrious and 
successful prospecting ; and we are apparently on the eve of a new 
mining excitement which shall, this time, take in not only the Pa- 
cific but the Atlantic as well, and sweep over the seas to Europe. 
Rightly directed and restrained, this will prove great impetus to our 
growth, great source to our wealth ; but it is a whirlwind, after all, 
that leaves many a wreck in its passing. And woe be to those of 
us, who know the perils of the storm, who have seen the fields of its 
predecessors, if wg unwor thily fan its power ! 

I especially commend, on this subject, the exhaustive paper of Mr. 
ASHBURNER, the Mineralogist of the California Geological Survey, 
which he has kindly added to my volume. You know we found him 
the best accredited authority as to mining on the Pacific Coast, and 
his exposition of Gold Mining in California and Silver Mining in 
Nevada, will prove applicable to the whole subject; while his de- 
tailed scientific examination of the condition of the great Comstock 
Silver Vein will give encouragement to the many eastern investors 
in its mines. 

In Natural Wonders and Beauties, as in rare gifts of wealth, the 
country of our Summer Journey stands out prominent and pre- 



VUl INTRODUCTORY LETTER 

eminent. Neither the Atlantic States nor Europe offer so much of 
the marvelous and the beautiful in Nature ; offer such strange and 
rare effects, — such combinations of novelty, beauty and majesty, — 
as were spread before us in our ride Across the Continent, through 
the mountains, and up and down the valleys. No known river 
scenery elsewhere can rival that of the Columbia, as it breaks 
through the Continental mountains ; no inland seas charm so keenly 
as Puget's Sound ; no mountain effects are stranger and more im- 
pressive than those the Rocky and the Sierras offer ; no atmosphere 
so fine and exhilarating, so strange and so compensating as Califor- 
nia's ; no forests so stately and so inexhaustible as those of Wash- 
ington ; no trees so majestic and so beautiful as the Sequoia Gigan- 
tea; — aye, and no Vision of Apocalypse so grand, so full of awe, so 
full of elevation, as the Yosemite Valley ! Does not that vision, — 
that week under the shadows of those wonderful rocks, — ^by the 
trickle and the roll of those marvelous water-falls, — stand out before 
all other sights, all other memories of this summer, crowded as it is 
with various novelty and beauty ? The world may well be challenged 
to match, in single sweep of eye, such impressive natural scenery as 
this. Professor Whitney tells us that higher domes of rock and 
deeper chasms are scattered along the Sierras, farther down the 
range ; but he also testifies that, in combination and in detail, in va- 
riety and majesty and beauty of rock formations, and in accompany- 
ing water-falls, there is no rival to, no second Yosemite. You will 
be interested in Professor Whitney's more detailed account of the 
Valley, and his suggestions as to its creation, which are appended 
to my Letters. They are from his just issued second volume of the 
Reports of the Geological Survey of California, which, if suffered 
to be completed as begun, will present a complete scientific account, 
in aggregate and in detail, of that wonderful State, and be the 
guide to all her future development. The Yosemite Valley ought to 
be more known in the East, also, through the marvelous photographs 
of Mr. Watkins of San Francisco ; he has made a specialty of 
these views, and, besides producing the finest photograplis of scenery 



TO SPEAKER COLFAX. IX 

that I know of anywhere, he gives to those who see them very im- 
pressive ideas of the distinctive features of this really wonderful 
valley. 

Other Special Papers accompany the Volume and help to give it 
completeness on certain points. You will pardon me for taking 
some extracts from your Speeches on the journey ; and I must make 
my peace with the public for not giving more. There is a valuable 
Letter by a friend, describing the stage ride through Idaho and its 
various Mines, which we were forced so reluctantly to omit. A 
Map, too, is improvised, by which the reader can follow our travels, 
and see the general "lay of the land" beyond the Mississippi. The 
Map is corrected according to the latest surveys, and defines the 
present limits of the Territories, and the locations of the principal 
Mining Centers. 

There will be many to come after us in this Summer's Journey, 
partly inspired by the pleasure of our experience, chiefly incited by 
the increased smoothness of the ways. The projecting arms of 
the Continental Railway will rapidly shorten the distance at both 
ends. Rival and improved stage lines, new and pleasanter stage 
routes, surer and better accommodations at the stations, more fre- 
quent opportunities for rest, all will speedily come, with protection 
from the Indians, which Government cannot longer neglect; and 
even another season, I anticipate such facilities for the Overland 
Passage, as will invite hundreds where one has heretofore gone, and 
make the journey as comfortable and convenient for ladies even, as 
it will be safe and instructive for all. Great as the triumphs of 
staging which our experience has witnessed this summer, they are 
but the taste and the forerunner of what will be organized and per- 
fected for the Overland Travel within two years. 

But will any of our successors share such welcome, receive such 
hospitality, as was ours ? It can hardly be. The thought of it all, 
its extent and its unexpectedness, produces a sense of unsatisfying 
gratitude. I have done what I could, in these Letters, to repay this 
wide-spread kindness, by making the country, its people and its in- 



X INTRODUCTORY LETTER. 

terests better knoWh to the East. They need nothing but the 
Truth, — none of them asked us to tell other than the Truth. And 
yet it were impossible adequately to represent all the strange feat- 
ures, all the rare capacities of this new half of our Nation. So, 
with a margin still against me, let this book go through you to our 
friends and benefactors of the Mountains and the Pacific Coast; 
from bluff Ben Holladay and his gallant knight, Otis, under whose 
banners we ventured out among the Indians from the Missouri 
River, on through Saint and Sinner, Gentile and Mormon, Miner 
and Farmer, gallant men and ladies fair, who gave us everywhere 
welcome to store of knowledge, to every material comfort, to every 
divine humanity of head and heart, — on to our tender friends, who 
dried their wet handkerchiefs in the morning breeze before the fading 
eyes of my wifeless companions, as we swept out the Golden Gate, 
on that cool September day; farther on, indeed, to the gallant sail- 
ors, who bore us on summer seas down the Continent's side, and 
back its mate, to Home ! 

And for you and me, my friend, — 

" When you next do ride abroad. 
May I be there to see ! " 

I am, yours, very faithfully, 

SAMUEL BOWLES. 



Springfield, Mass., 
December 2$f 1865. 



Index to Contents. 



LETTER I. 

PAGE. 

FROM MASSACHUSETTS TO THE MISSOURI.— The Railroad Ride 
behind, the Stage Ride before— Spanning the Continent— Vitahty of 
Men of the West— The Chicago Wigwam five years ago: History 
since— Cleveland and Chicago, and their new Life— Atchison and its 
History and its Position— Pomeroy and Stringfellow— The Trade 
over the Plains— Speaker Colfax and his party for the Overland 
Journey— The Indians break the Line— Senator Foster and the 
Indian Question— Agriculture in the Wesir— Coach off: Good-bye, . . 1 

LETTER II. 

FROM THE MISSOURI TO THE PLATTE.— Atchison to Fort Kear- 
ney through Kansas and Nebraska— General Connor and no Indians 
— The "Galvanized Yankee" Soldiers — How we Rode— The Country 
and its Fascinations— The Scenery and the Atmosphere— The Mod- 
ern Caravans on the Plains— A Storm of Thunder and Lightning and 
Hail, and how we weathered it, 10 

LETTER III. 

THROUGH THE PLAINS TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.— A con- 
tinuous five days' Stage Ride— The Plains the great National Pas- 
ture—The Platte River— Climate and Soil— Natural Highway across 
the Continent— A natural Road-bed— Population of the Region- 
How we Fared — Prices on the Plains and at Denver — "The noble 
Red Man," and our Preparations for him— Life and Death on the 
Plains— The Prairie Dogs and their Companions— The Alkali Wa- 
ter—Parting Breakfast with General Connor at Julesburg— His Posi- 
tion and History— Reception at Denver, 18 

LETTER IV. 

THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS AND THEIR GOLD MINES.— A Week 
among the Mountains and in the Mines— The Switzerland of AmCT- 
ica— Long's Peak and Pike's Peak— Bierstadt's " Storm in the Rocky 
Mountains"— Theater of the Gold Development, on Clear Creek— 



XU INDEX TO CONTENTS. 



PAGE. 

Central City, Black Hawk, Nevada— Condition and Prospects of the 
Business— Mysteries of the Sulphurites— Speculating Companies— 
The Gold Production of Colorado— Reports from Idaho and Mon- 
tana—The United States the Treasury of the World— Questions of 
the Future, . . . , 3o 

LETTER V. 

OF PERSONS, NOT THINGS.— Reception in Colorado— Grand Gala 
Supper to Mr. Colfax— Pen Portraits of the Party: Mr. Colfax, Gov- 
ernor Bross, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Otis— Social Life in the Rocky 
Mountains— The Young Men and the Young Women— Ben Holladay 
and his Stages— Famous Rides across the Plains, 43 

LETTER VI. 

SUNDAY IN THE MOUNTAINS.— Broad Church in the West— Mr. 
"Lo, the poor Indian"— A Day and a Night at Virginia Dale; its 
Scenery and its Landlady— Colorado and its People— Movement for 
State Government— A Mining Story : General Fitz John Porter, Smith 
and Parmelee, Judge Harding— Lack of "Help" in the Homes— The 
Blossoming of Eastern Fashions— Lack of Horticulture— Necessity 
of Irrigation— Canned Fruits and Vegetables— Prices of Food in Col- 
orado and Montana— Vernacular of the Mountains, 56 

LETTER VII. 

FROM DENVER TO SALT LAKE— THROUGH THE ROCKY MOUN- 
TAINS.— The Indians in our Path— Robberies and Murders on the 
Stage Line— What shall be done with them?— The Quaker Policy 
versus General Connor's Policy— Our Escape and our Faith— Wild 
Game on the Route : Antelopes, Elk, Trout, Bears, Sage Hens, etc.— 
The Desert of the Mountains— The Sage Brush— The Bitter Creek 
Country— Through Bridger's Pass to the Pacific Slopes— A Night Ride 
over the Pass— The Curious Architecture of Winds and Sands— The 
"Church Butte," and its Wonders — Fort Bridger— Arrival at Great 
Salt Lake City, 67 

LETTER VIII. 

THE WAY INTO UTAH: RECEPTION BY THE MORMONS.— Ba- 
sin of the Great Salt Lake— The Home of the Mormons— Their 
Triumphs— Ride among the Wasatch Mountains— Playing Snowball 
among Flowers— Yellow the Favorite Color of Nature— Echo Can- 
yon: its Beauties and its Ruins— The Valley of the Jordan— The 
City of Salt Lake: its Location and its Promise— Mr. Colfax's Re- 
ception by Soldier and Saint— The Hospitality of the Mormons- 
Excursion to Great Salt Lake— Strawberries and a Mormon Harem- 
Interview with Brigham Young: How he Looked and Acted— Heber 
C. Kimball, Dr. Bernhisel and other Church" Elders— The Anti 
Mormons, or Gentiles, and what they are Doing— Death of Governor 
Doty, 79 



INDEX TO CONTENTS. Xlll 

LETTER IX. 

MORMON MATERIALITIES.— Irrigation and its Results— The Salt 
Lake City Gardens— Wonderful Crops of Grain— The Mysteries of 
Great Salt Lake— Extent of the Mormon Settlements— Navigation' 
of the Colorado River— Supplies for Utah by that Route — Policy of 
the Mormons as to Agriculture and Mines— The Silver Mines in 
Utah— The Soldiers at Work on Them— Visit to Rush Valley and 
Stockton, 89 

LETTER X. 

SALT LAKE CITY AND LIFE THERE.— The Chief Commercial City 
of the Mountains, and the Watering-Place of the Continent— Its 
Hot Sulphur Springs, and its Salt Lake : their Characteristics and 
their Uses— The Present Status of the City— Profits of its Mer- 
chants — Prices of Goods there— Dinner Party at a Mormon Mer- 
chant's— Brigham Young's Theater — A Special Dramatic Perform- 
ance— Brigham Young on " a Good Thing," , 98 

LETTER XI. 

THE POLYGAMY QUESTION.— Our Opportunities for Studying the 
Mormons— Testimony from all Interests and Parties— Conclusions — 
Mormc nism not necessarily Polygamy— The Latter sure to fall Be- 
fore the progress of Democracy — Present Duty of the Government 
towards he Question— Most of the Federal OflBcers in the Territory 
Polygamists— An Important Distinction— Conversation with Brig- 
ham Young on Polygamy — Points of the Discussion — Suggestion of 
a new Revelation against Polygamy — Views of Young as to Slavery 
and the Rebels — A Sardonic Face, 105 

LETTER XII. 

THE MORMON WIVES : OUR LAST DAY IN SALT LAKE CITY.— 
The Mormon Women and Polygamy— How they Live Together — 
The Children and the Schools— The Soldiers Stealing the Surplus 
Wives — Neglect of their Poor by the Mormons— Character of the 
Mormon Church Audiences- Services at the Tabernacle— Preaching 
by Brigham Young — Their Religion a Coarse Materialism — Mr. Col- 
fax's Eulogy on President Lincoln— Elections in Utah— Judge Kin- 
ney and Captain Hooper— Good-Bye to Salt Lake, .... 114 

^LETTER XIII. 

SOCIAL LIFE AMONG THE MORMONS.— The Cross Relationships* 
of Polygamy — Brigham Young's Wives — Going to Heaven b)'' the 
Coat-Tails of the Men— Wives the Reward of Merit— Polygamy "a 
good thing" for Poor Men— Brigham Young's Retinue— No Hand- 
some Women among the Mormons— Brigham Young's Children— 
The Soldiers and the Mormons — General Connor and Brigham 
Young— Porter Rockwell, the Avenger— The Movement towards the 
Sandwich Islands, 123 



XIV INDEX TO CONTENTS. 

LETTER XIV. 
THE RIDE THROUGH THE SAGE BRUSH AND THE GREAT 
BASIN.— The Great Desert Basin of Utah and Nevada, and its Char- 
acteristics—A Quick Stage Ride through its Alkah Dust and over its 
Mountains— The Taint of the Alkali— Experiences of the Ride— 
Greeley and Hank Monk— Problems as to the Culture of this Re- 
gion—Its Redeeming Beauties in Mountains, in Atmosphere, and in 
Exhilarating Breeze, , 131 

LETTER XV. 

THE SILVER MINES OF NEVADA: AUSTIN AND VIRGINIA 
CITY.— Nevada the Child of California— Austin : its Location; its 
Soeial and Material Development— Classics in a Cellar— The Silver 
Mines in and about Austin— Character of the Ore— Mills— Improve- 
ments and Expenses— New Mining Discoveries— Virginia and its 
History and Mines— The Famous Comstock Ledge — The Gould & 
Curry Mine, and its Statistics- Its Superintendent, Mr. Charles L. 
Strong — The Ophir, Savage, Empire, Yellow Jacket, and other 
Mines— Cost and Profit of the Virginia Ores— Number of Quartz 
Mills on the Comstock Ledge— California's Account with Nevada — 
Conclusions as to the Nevada Mines— Advice to Capitalists- A Rhode 
Island Example in Colorado— Doubtful Things Very Uncertain- 
Profanity Discouraged, 141 

LETTER XVI. 

THE CONTINENT ACROSS.— The Ride over the Sierras— The Great 
Ride Finished— Still the same Republic, the same Flag— Wonderful 
Homogeneity of the American People — The Civilization of San 
Francisco and the Pacific Coast— The Material Prospects of City and 
Country— The Last Day in Nevada— Valleys of the Truckee, Washoe, 
and Carson — Steamboat Springs— Reception at Carson City— The 
Sierra Nevadas and their Beauties— Lake Tahoe— The Stage Ride 
over the Mountains from Lake Tahoe to Placerville — Hard and 
Watered Roads and Fast Horses— First Views of California Life, . . 159 

LETTER XVII. 

OVERLAND TO OREGON.— A Pleasant Revelation in Oregon— The 
Overland Ride from California— Up the Sacramento Valley— Chico— 
General Bidwell and his Farm— Red Bluffs and the Family of John 
Brown— The Trinity, Klamath, Rogue, and Umpqua Rivers— Shasta 
andYreka— The Tower House and its Proprietor— Mount Shasta and 
its Snow Fields— Jacksonville and its Gold Di^rgi ngs— Pilot Knob— 
The Forests— Pines and Firs— Oak Groves— The Mistletoe and the 
Spanish Moss— Joe Lane and Jesse Applegate— Farming in the Ump- 
qua Valley— Entrance to the Willamette Valley— Its Agricultural 
Wealth and its Rural Beauties— The Agriculture of Oregon— The 
Rains— The Summers and the Winters— The Towns and the People of 
the Willamette Valley— Portland : its Location and its Importance, . 1G9 



INDEX TO CONTENTS, XV 

LETTER XVIII. p^^^ 
THE COLUMBIA RIVER: ITS SCENERY AND ITS COMMERCE.— 
The Reach and Importance of the Columbia— Its Breach Through 
the Continental Mountains— Fort Vancouver and its History— Gen- 
eral Grant as Remembered Here — The Cascades— The Dalles— The 
Scenery of Mountain and River — Steamboats on the Upper Colum- 
bia—A Bit of Private Fun— The Scenery of the Columbia as com- 
pared with the Hudson, the Rhine and the Upper Mississippi- 
Mount Hood— The Great Mountain of Oregon— The Highest Peaks 
of the United States— The Oregon Steam Navigation Company— Its 
Rise, Progress and Purposes— Oregon's Pacific Railroad Cut Off— New 
Route to the Carribou Country— Summing Up of Oregon— Its People 
and Their Promise, 184 

LETTER XIX. 

THROUGH WASHINGTON TERRITORY.— From Portland to Monti- 
cello by Steamer— A Rough Road— A Hard Ride through the For- 
ests—Ferns^ Blackberries and Snakes — Skookem Chuck— Olympia 
and Reception there— Pacific Tribute to the Stomach— Basis for a 
Religious Superstructure — Washington Territory — Its Name^and its 
Capabilities, 198 

LETTER XX. 

PUGET'S SOUND AND VANCOUVER'S ISLAND.-Great Lumber 
Market for the Pacific Coast— Saw-Mills and Ships on the Sound- 
Victoria, and its English Features— British Taxes and Expendi- 
tures— Frazer River Gold Diggings— Prosperity of Victoria— Depot 
of the Hudson Bay Company— Grand Dinner to Mr. Colfax— The 
San Juan Boundary Question— Summer Gardens under the Perpetual 
Snows— The Pacific Coast Climate versus that of New England, .... 204 

LETTER XXI. 

SAN FRANCISCO: MR. COLFAX, AND HIS RECEPTION IN THE 
PACIFIC STATES.- Back to Frisco— Its Fascinations and its In- 
comparable Climate— The Town always "in the Draft"— The Loss 
of the Steamer Brother Jonathan— Speaker Colfax's Tour Complete 
—His Reception Described and Analyzed— His Speeches— The Mex- 
ican Question— His Speech at Victoria— Governor Bross and Mr. 
Richardson 213 

LETTER XXII. 
THE YOSEMITE VALLEY AND THE BIG TREES.-First Impres- 
sions—The Great Natural Wonders and Beauties of the Western 
World— Distinguishing Features of the Valley— The Verdure of the 
Valley— Where the Zebra and Dr. Bellows' Church were Borrowed 
from— Various Shapes of the Mountain Rocks— The Water-falls of 
the Valley— The Journey to the Yosemite— Cession of the Valley 
and the Big Trees to the State of California— Our Party and its 
Experiences— The Excursion to the Big Trees: their Size: their 
Age: tl^eir Beauty: their Majesty, 223 



XVI INDEX TO CONTENTS. 

LETTER XXIII. p^^^ 
THE CHINESE ON THE PACIFIC COAST : OUR GRAND DINNER 
WITH THEM.— Number of Chinese Emigrants— What they Do- 
Raising Vegetables— Building the Pacific Railway— Servants in 
Families and Gleaners in the Coal Fields— How the White Men 
Treat them— Their Habits— Their Religion— Their Vices— How they 
are to be Reformed— The Chinese ver-sus the Irish and the African 
—Chinese Merchants— Their Intelligence and their Honesty— A Din- 
ner with them — Specimen of Chinese Pigeon-English— How the 
Dinner Began, and how it Went On — The Chopsticks, and the 
Food— The Writer Rescued by the Police, and Taken Out to get 
"Something to Eat," 238 

LETTER XXIV. 

THE GREAT THEME: THE PACIFIC RAILWAY.— How its Need is 
Felt.— Anxiety for its Construction— The Hunger for "Home"— The 
Condition and Prospects of the Enterprise — Where Timber and 
Fuel are to come from— Routes over the Rocky Mountains— From 
Salt Lake to the Sierra Nevadas — What the Government has Done — 
What the People are doing at each End— Lack of Enterprise and 
Progress at the East — Superior Zeal and Progress at the West — Rival 
Routes over the Sierras— The Wagon Roads and their Business- 
Mr. T. D. Judah and his Route for the Railroad— Rapid Progress up 
the Mountains — Four Thousand Chinese Laborers at Work — Five 
years Long Enough to Complete the Whole Line— Appeal to the 
Men of the East, 255 

LETTER XXV. 

COUNTRY EXCURSIONS: THE GEYSERS, VINEYARDS AND 
AGRICULTURE.— The Valleys of the Coast Range— How California 
is Constructed— Oakland— Fred Law Olmsted and Mnjor Ralph W. 
Kirkham— The San Jose Valley and its Beauties— Excursion to the 
Geysers — Petaluma — Russian River Valley — Healdsburg — A Rare 
Whip and a Rare Drive— The Geysers Themselves— The Embodi- 
ment of Hell— The Country in the Neighborhood— Napa Valley— 
— Calistoga and Warm Springs— Sonoma Valley and its Vineyards — 
California Wines— Champagne the Mother's Milk in California— Fa- 
cilities for Agriculture in California— Illustrative Crops, , 274 

LETTER XXVI. 

OF SAN FRANCISCO : BUSINESS MATTERS.— How San Francisco 
is Located— Its Sand Hills and their Fickleness— Lone Mountain 
Cemetery— The City Gardens— Contrasts in Business and Social Life — 
Character of the Business Men— The Bankers— The Bank of Cali- 
fornia—The Wells & Fargo Express and its Various Business— How 
it Rivals the Government in Carrying Letters— The Machine Shops 
and the Woolen Manufacturers — The Mission Woolen Mills and 
their Success with Chinese Labor- Cotton Manufactory and Other 
Industrial Enterprises— The Commerce of San Francisco, 288 



INDEX TO CONTENTS. XVll 



LETTER XXVII. p^^j.. 
MINING IN CALIFORNIA: ITS VARIETIES, RESULTS, AND 
PROSPECTS.— Present Yield of the Mines of the Pacific States- 
Processes and Progress of Gold Seeking— The Soil Washings, the 
Deep Diggings, and Hydraulic Mining— Great Enterprises of the 
Latter— Tlie Large Results— The Waste of Nature by Mining — "Yuba 
Dam" and its Anecdote- The Quartz Mining and its Status — Grass 
Valley— Lola Montez, and the Horse Milkman— Condition of Mining 
in Mariposa County— The Fremont Estate 6ome to Grief— General 
Prospects and Condition of Mining in Cahfornia— The Idaho Mines 
—Mining in the Various States Compared— The Advantage for Cali- 
fornia—Personal Experiences in Visiting Mines— How We Went 
Into the Gould & Curry Mine, and How We Got Out, 302 

LETTER XXVIII. 
SOCIAL LIFE IN SAN FRANCISCO: THE WOMEN: RELIGION 
AND MINISTERS.— Visit to the Cliff House— The Pacific Ocean— 
The Seals and the Pelicans— A Ride along the Beach— The Chaos of 
Society in San Francisco— Domination of Materialism and Mascu- 
linism— The Women Savored with it— How the Ladies Dress — A 
Feminine Lunch Party — Activity in Public Morals— Education and 
Religion — Churches and School-houses— Ambition for Smart Preach- 
ers—Rev. Dr. Wadsworth, Rev. Dr. Scudder, Rev. Mr. Stebbins — 
The Country Parishes— Wide Field for Missionary Labor — The Pa- 
cific Railroad the Great Missionary of All— Rev. Mr. Stebbins' Views 
of California Life, 321 

LETTER XXIX. 
CLIMATE AND PRODUCTIONS: COST OF LIVING: THE CUR- 
RENCY QUESTION: THE MINT— Advantage of the Pacific Cli- 
mate for Invalids— Effects of the Climate upon the Race— The 
Fruits and Vegetables of California, Compared with those of the 
East — Beauty of the California Spring — The Best Time to Visit the 
Pacific States — Comparative Prices of Living — The What Cheer 
House— Prices in the Markets— Gold and Silver the only Currency — 
Question of Introducing Paper Money — The Mint at San Francisco 
—The World's Settling House at San Francisco, » . . 335 

LETTER XXX. 

THE MINING QUESTIONS AGAIN : GENERAL REVIEW.— A New 
Word of Caution to Eastern Capitalists— Speculators and Swindlers 
in the Field— Other Authority for these Views; Professor Whitney 
and Mr. Ashburner— Double Injury of Deception— Importance of the 
Geological Survey of California— The Superior Richness of the Col- 
orado Gold Mines— New Mining Discoveries in California— Latest 
Phase of the Comstock Ledge— The Gold and Copper Mines in Ari- 
zona—Last News from Idaho— The Oil Fever of the East and the 
Gold Fever of the West— The Copper and Quicksilver Mines of 
California— The Petroleum Speculation in California— Vineyards 
Growing on the supposed Oil Beds, 34J 



XVIU INDEX TO CONTENTS. 

LETTER XXXI. j,^,,^ 

THE FAREWELL FESTIVITIES: POLITICS AND POLITICIANS.— 
The Pathos of Parting— Our Final Visit in San Francisco— A 
Crowded Week— Magnificent Dinner Party— Brilliant Faiewell Ball 
and Banquet, with Orthodox Belles and Hot Beef Tea— Politics of 
the Pacific States— Their Rescue from Secession- -Theii Affiliation 
with the Union Party— Governors Blaisdell, Lowe nnd Gibbs— Sena- 
tors Stewart and Conness— T. Starr King's opportunity— His Sacred 
Fame on the Pacific Coast — The California Congressmen — Large 
Emigration of Rebels from Missouri to Oregon— Anecdote of Sena- 
tor Nesmith of Oregon— Pacific Loyalty a Passion, and its Intoler- 
ance—The Indians of the Pacific States— The Indian Question 
Briefly Summed Up— The Slang Phrases of the Coast— A Parting 
Word for California and her Sister States, 358 

LETTER XXXII. 
THE VOYAGE HOME BY STEAMSHIP AND THE ISTHMUS.— 
An Unique Sea Trip— Your Companions on the Voyage— The Accom- 
modations and Food on the Steamer— The Crowd— The Mixture— 
The Babies— Down the Coast on Smooth Seas and in Sight of Land 
—Tropical Weather and its Effects— Stopping at Acapulco— The 
Town and its Mexican Inhabitants- The Evening on Shore— Interview 
with General Alvarez— Poor Prospects for Mexican Independence— 
The Bartering for Fruits and Shells— Down the Coast Again— Gua- 
temala and its Volcanoes— San Salvador and Nicaragua— Arrival at 
Panama— Scenes in the Harbor— Burial of one of our Passengers — 
Day Upon the Isthmus— Panama and its Idiosyncrasies— The Rail- 
road Across the Isthmus— The Ride and its Tropical Revelations— 
The Natives and their Nudity— Chagres River and the Isthmus 
Fever— Aspinwall and its Barrenness— The Steamship Service on 
the Atlantic Side— A Fortunate Run to New York— The Trip Summed 
Up— The Pacific Mail Steamship Company and its new Career- 
Prices o." Passage— The Moral Unhealth of the Crowd on the Steam- 
ers—The Summer Journey Ended: Its Limits Reviewed: Its Tri- 
umphs Stated : Its Results Measnr;:^d* 870 



INDEX TO CONTENTS. xix 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS. 



'■ • PAGE. 

THE MORMONS.— Their Present Attitude towards the Government- 
Defense of Polygamy— A Specimen of Mormon Preachmg— The 
Emigration of 1865, , 391 

II. 

MINES AND MINING.— The Mines in Montana— The Uncertainties of 
Mining, by Professor Whitney— The Mining Laws and their Opera- 
tion, by Mr. Charles Allen of Boston— How the Metal is Extracted 
from the Reese River Quartz, by Mr. Allen— Eastern Investment in 
Reese River Mines— General Rosecrans on the Mines of Nevada, . . 399 

III. 

MR. COLFAX'S SPEECHES.— Mr. Lincoln's Message to the Miners, 
at Central City, Colorado— The Respective Duties of Government 
and People : Suggestions to the Mormons, at Great Salt Lake City — 
The Mines and their Taxation, at Virginia City, Nevada— The Pacific 
Railroad, at Virginia City, Nevada— The Republic and Peace: The 
Mexican Question, at San Francisco— California's Past and Future, 
at San Francisco— America and Britain, at Victoria, Vancouver's 
Island— Farewell Speech, at Parting Banquet in San Francisco, . , . 405 

IV. 
IDAHO AND ITS MINES : With an Account of the Overland Journey 
FROM Oregon to Salt Lake City.— Up the Columbia— Walla Walla- 
Over the Blue Mountains— The Grand Ronde Valley— The Upper 
Snake River— Thomas & Ruekel's Stage Line, and its Proprietors- 
Idaho Territory— Boise City— Idaho City— The Various Gold Dig- 
gings—South Boise— Owyhee— Illustrations of Mining Life— The 
Great Falls of Snake River— Road Agents— Sage Plains— Salt Lake, 418 

V. 

THE YOSEMITE VALLEY.— Its Marvels and its Beauties, Scientific- 
ally Described, by Professor J. D. Whitney, 429 

VI. 

THE BIG TREES.— The Grove in Calaveras County— Exact Measure- 
ments of some of the Largest Trees— The Species and the Name, . 436 

VII. 

CALIFORNIA'S WEALTH.— Statistics from an Agricultural Address 
by Dr. Holden of Stockton, 438 



XX: INDEX TO CONTENTS. 



VIII. 

PAGE. 

THE GOLD MINES OF CALIFORNIA, AND THE SILVER MINES 
OF NEVADA— A Special Paper, by Mr. William Ashburnee, Mining 
Engineer. — The Gold Producing Region of California— Placer Mining 
— The^Quartz-Mines : their History and Condition— The Silver Mines 
of Nevada— The Comstock Vein and its various Mines: the Gould 
& Curry, the Ophir, the Chollar-Potosi, the Savage, the Imperial, etc. 
— Hovr they have been Managed— The Problem of their Future, and 
its Probable Solution, * 439 




LETTER I. 

FROM MASSACHUSETTS TO THE MISSOURI. 



Atchison, Kansas, May 21, 1865. 
A WEEK of leisure traveling ends the first or 
railroad stage of the great overland trip across 
the Continent. It is 1,425 miles by railroad from 
Springfield to Atchison, via Buffalo, Cleveland, Chi- 
cago, and the Hannibarl and St. Joseph Railroad 
through northern Missouri. Here, the outmost 
post of our eastern railway system, we commence 
a coach ride of two thousand miles before we meet 
the projecting arm of the California railways at Pla- 
cerville. Thence a day takes us down to San Fran- 
cisco, and the Continent is spanned, the national 
breadth is measured. How this Republic, saved, 
reunited, bound together as never before, expands 
under such personal passage and footstep tread; 
how magnificent its domain ; how far-reaching and 
uprising its material, moral and political possibili- 
ties and promises! There is no such knowledge 
of the nation as comes of traveling it, of seeing 



2 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

eye to eye its vast extent, its various and teeming 
wealth, and, above all, its purpose-full people — grow- 
ing only greater in personal power and activity as 
they grow fewer in numbers. We think our Yan- 
kee leaders have active brains and comprehensive 
hands; but the pioneers in the commerce and in 
the civilization of the West impress you as men of 
broader grasp and more intense vitality. The very 
breadth of their field expands them. 

It is five years since I was last in the West. Then 
I came to attend the Convention that nominated Mr. 
Lincoln for President. How long ago that seems ! 
How dim the almost tragic scenes and excitements 
and struggles of the Wigwam ! Personal prefer- 
ences were lost and won there, life-long ambitions 
wrecked, new combinations created, and old ones 
shattered, whose significance was little understood 
then. What century of other history has held such 
revolutions, has wrought such influences on the 
present and the future of the world, as these five 
years ! Wliat five years of all life, of ours or any- 
body's else, would you or I exchange for even our 
witness of these.-* 

We had an afternoon and evening in Cleveland, 
and a day in Chicago. I gathered new impressions 
of the beduty of the former city. No other place. 
East or West, unites such a business street as Su- 
perior to such a residence avenue as Euclid. It is 
the gem of the western cities. Springfield has sim- 
ilar union of business convenience and breadth with 
beautiful rural homes; but the scale is smaller — 
our Main street is narrower, our Maple and Chest- 



CHICAGO AND ATCHISON. 3 

nut shorter and less magnificently studded with 
palatial country residences. 

Chicago is still great — to all Chicagoians. She 
has indeed made herself the commercial center of 
all the North-west. Milwaukee gives up the con- 
test, and even her own State, to her old rival ; and 
St. Louis looks on with envy at the more rapid 
strides of the metropolis of the free North-west. 
There is less building in progress, however, than I 
ever have seen before, and fewer new structures are 
noticed on the business streets than are usually ob- 
served between visits ; though there be spots enough 
still needing reconstruction. Chicago is getting es- 
thetically ambitious, however ; she talks less of cor- 
ner lots and corn and new blocks than of yore ; and 
turns her thoughts more to art, to literature and to 
philanthropy. Already with the great journal of 
the North-west, she is founding another, and draws 
from New York, in Mr. Dana, to lead it, one of the 
most eclectic of American scholars, one of the most 
executive of American minds. Just now, too, she is 
vain over a new and beautiful opera-house — reared 
from the profits on alcohol — and a season of undi- 
luted Italian opera ; and earnest, moreover, with a 
grand Soldiers' Fair. Fitting it is that Chicago, 
which led in these monster fairs for the benefit of 
the army, should also close their glorious and holy 
procession. Their history is a proud chapter in our 
war ; and in it the American women write their 
own nobility and patriotism. 

This border town of Atchison is memorable in 
Kansas experiences. It was first settled and pos- 



4 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

sessed by border ruffians of the worst type. The fa- 
mous Buford Company of South Carolinians made it 
head-quarters. Stringfellow was its paterfamilias. 
But Mr. Pomeroy, the agent of the New England 
Emigrant Aid Company, finally got possession of it 
by strategy — he bought up its newspaper and threw 
a force of free state men into town during one night, 
and thenceforth defied the old settlers. Since then 
Pomeroy and Stringfellow have joined hands, bought 
up the town as a speculation, and are now growing 
rich together by its •development and prosperity. 
Stringfellow lives here, and has become gentlemanly 
and loyal since the war broke out, and Pomeroy is 
United States Senator from Kansas, and also re- 
sides here when not in Washington. The town lies 
rather incoherently along some broken bluffs on 
the west bank of the Missouri River, five hundred 
miles from St. Louis, about twenty above Leaven- 
worth, and the same distance below St. Joseph, the 
metropolis of northern Missouri. A railroad runs 
along the opposite bank of the river, and gives 
communication with St. Joseph and Leavenworth. 
Lawrence lies off to the south-west say fifty miles, 
Atchison being in fact in the north-eastern corner 
of the State. It is now the starting point of the 
overland mail for the mining regions and California, 
and the head-quarters of the stage company; also 
one of the chief points on the border for the trans- 
shipment, from cars and steamboats to wagons, of 
goods of all sorts bound to the mines of. Colorado, 
Idaho, Montana, &c., and the saints of Utah. Ne- 
braska City, Omaha, St. Joseph, Leavenworth and 



FREIGHTING OVERLAND. 5 

Lawrence are rivals in this great business of freight- 
ing to the far West — how great nobody can reahze 
who does not look upon it directly at this the busy 
season of the year ; — but Atchison lies best as to the 
roads west, being both upon the river, and, through 
a great bend in its course, the most western of any 
town upon it, in the State or in Missouri, and per- 
haps does more of the outfitting and forwarding 
than any other one town. Most of the goods are 
only sent through the town, being bought by the 
shippers or territorial merchants in Philadelphia, 
New York, St. Louis and Chicago ; yet a single firm 
here, in a modest building, is selling one million 
dollars yearly to small traders, or to fill up forgotten 
places in large trains. Long trains of heavily 
loaded wagons, drawn by mules and oxen, are mov- 
ing out daily, n^w ; but immense warehouses and 
large yards are still stored full with massive ma- 
chinery for working the mines, and goods for feed- 
ing and clothing the miners, and agricultural imple- 
ments to cultivate the prairies, waiting for their 
turn. The mule trains have been in progress for a 
month, but the ox-teams have had to wait till now, 
so that the animals could be fed on the grass en 
route. The Indians made such havoc last year that 
food for man or beast has been very scarce on the 
road across the Plains all the winter and spring ; the 
Overland Stage and Mail Company has been very 
much crippled thereby ; and the grain that it is now 
feeding out to its horses on the road has cost it, in 
purchase and transportation, something like eight 
dollars a bushel, or eight and ten cents a pound ! 



6 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Speaker Colfax and his friends are gathered here 
for their long and inviting yet rather rough journey 
to the Pacific Coast. The party embraces the 
Speaker, Lieutenant-Governor Bross of Illinois, 
senior editor of the Chicago Tribune, Mr. Albert 
D. Richardson of the New York Tribune, and my- 
self Mr. George K. Otis of New York, special 
agent of the Overland Stage Line, accompanies us ; 
and we have laid in every possible mitigation of the 
fatigues and discomforts of the long ride. There 
are rifles and revolvers for Indians and game ; sar- 
dines for those who cannot digest bacon ; segars for 
the smoking Speaker ; black tea for the nervous 
newspaper men ; crackers for those fastidious stom- 
achs that reject saleratus biscuit ; and soap for those 
so aristocratic as to insist on washing themselves en 
route. • 

Something of fillip is given to our ride by the 
overland stage from the West, due yesterday noon, 
coming in only this morning, and with the news 
that it had been attacked by the Indians about one 
hundred and forty miles back, or some half way to 
Fort Kearney. It is the first raid of the red-skins 
this season ; and so thorough precautions had been 
made by General Connor, who has charge of the 
troops along the route, that it was believed there 
would be no trouble ; the stages had assumed their 
old certainty and regularity, came in here every day 
within half an hour of the schedule time, and left 
precisely at eight every morning, and timed their 
arrivals at the stations along the route so certainly 
that the keepers had the meals all cooked and warm 



INDIANS ON OUR TRACK. 7 

as the stages drove up, all the way from here to Salt 
Lake City. But to-day's news shows that some of 
the Indians had broken through or run around the 
military lines. They commenced by ambushing a 
party of some twelve to twenty soldiers, mostly con- 
verted rebels, on their way up from Leavenworth 
to Fort Kearney, but without arms. Two of these 
they killed outright, and most of the rest they 
wounded so savagely that they will probably die. 
The next day they assaulted the incoming stage, 
which had some six or eight passengers, men, wo- 
men and children, circling around and around the 
vehicle on well-mounted horses, and shooting their 
arrows fast and sharp — only one had a musket, and 
another a pistol — at horses and passengers. The 
horses were whipped up, the men on the coach had 
two rifles and kept them in play, and thus the In- 
dians were held at bay until the protection of a sta- 
tion and a train was secured, when the attacking 
party, finding themselves baffled, retired. They 
numbered about twenty-five in all, and their appear- 
ance on what was supposed to be the safest part of 
the route, and the one least protected by soldiers, 
has made some excitement. 

Senator Foster of Connecticut, (Vice-president, 
ex-officio) and Senator Doolittle of Wisconsin, have 
just started south-west on an expedition to Santa 
Fe in New Mexico. They take a body guard of 
over one hundred cavalrymen, and will sweep around 
through Colorado, across the Overland Route to the 
upper Missouri, and come down through Nebraska. 
The two Senators are a part of a joint committee 



8 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of Congress to visit all our Indian territories, ex- 
amine into the condition of the Indians and their 
relations to the whites, and report facts and sug- 
gestions, with a view to a more intelligent and ef- 
fective Indian policy. This is the occasion of their 
journey, the section they are visiting being their 
allotted space of the committee's work. It is an 
important, and, it is to be hoped, will prove a be- 
neficent mission, that is thus undertaken. Who- 
ever shall discover and cause to be put in practice 
a policy towards our Indian tribes, that shall secure 
protection alike to. them and the whites, and stop 
indiscriminate massacre on both sides, will prove 
the greatest of national benefactors. But the al- 
most universal testimony of the border men is that 
there can be no terms made with the Indians — the 
only wise policy, they aver, is extermination. This 
is dreadful if true ; and I cannot believe it. The 
Indians have great provocation for their bad faith 
and their massacres in our own bad faith to them, 
in the systematic manner they have been plundered 
and cheated and every way abused by officers of 
the government, and the coarsest of the border 
men. But if the policy of extermination is the 
only possible one, the sooner it is adopted, and car- 
ried out, the better. It is cruelty to all parties, it 
is loss to people and nation, to let affairs drift along 
in the present way, exposing settlers and travelers 
to unexpected assaults and robbery, and interrupt- 
ing the course of the subjugation and civilization 
of the continent. 

The season lags, and plowing and planting are 



THE STAGE STARTS I GOOD-BA^E. 9 

greatly belated in the West. TKere is evident lack 
of labor, and nature kindly prolongs the spring- 
time. A few fields of corn are up ; but more still 
are yet being plowed. A steam plow, cheap, simple, 
but effective, is still the great need of our western 
agriculture, for plowing is its greatest, most wear- 
ing, most delaying burden. The other labor-saving 
machines are in use to an extent that would amaze 
New England farmers — planters, mowers, reap- 
ers ; — you see them by the dozens in every little 
village, and they are the prominent feature of freight 
at the depots all along the railroads. The " Buck- 
eye" is the favorite mower and reaper out here. 
The caterpillars are ruining the orchards along our 
route through Illinois and Missouri as painfully as 
at the East, and the farmers seem as indifferent to 
their ravages. It is a sad sight — a thrifty young 
orchard of apples, otherwise, with half its trees 
stripped of all life by these pests, and the rest 
going in the same direction. 

But the overland coach waits ; General Connor 
has taken command of our party ; and so, dear 
friends all, we sail out into this vast ocean of land. 
I shall think of you with every joy, and, possibly 
with selfish longing, with ever.y pain. Do you 
think of me when the June roses open, with the 
dew of July mornings, with the fragrant cool of an 
August evening shower, when the katy-dids sing in 
September ; and, God willing, I shall be with you 
again ere the maples redden in October. 



LETTER II. 

FROM THE MISSOURI TO THE PLATTE. 



Fort Kearney, Nebraska, May 24. 
A TRIFLE short of two days has borne us two 
hundred and fifty miles, riding night and day, to this 
point, which is the junction of the Omaha, Nebraska 
City and Atchison roads for the grand central Over- 
land Route to Colorado and Utah and the Pacific Ter- 
ritories. Our road lay through the northern counties 
of Kansas and the southern of Nebraska; across 
the valleys of the Big and Little Sandy and the 
Big and Little Blue rivers ; and here we strike the 
Platte River, up which and its southern branch we 
continue till we reach Denver. We came through 
the region of the Indian surprises and attacks of 
last week, but met no hostile red-skin. We found 
abundant evidences, however, of their last year's 
swoop through the line, in ruins of houses and 
barns which they then burned, and stories of their 
terrible massacres. General Connor and his aid. 
Captain Jewett,'are riding out with us on their way 
to Julesburg, the General's head-quarters, two hund- 
red miles farther west; and through the exposed 
parts of the line we had, as all the stages now have, 



"GALVANIZED YANKEES. II 

a guard of two to four cavalrymen. A few soldiers, 
with a half-dozen cool and well-armed passengers, 
are always enough to frighten off or drive away 
any number of Indians less than a hundred. The 
red-skin fights shy, and only attacks where he is 
sure of little or no resistance ; and he is despised, 
as a foe, by all the military men and old stagers 
along the Plains. But the necessity of keeping up 
steady mail and travel communication through this 
region, and of protecting the immense traffic in 
provisions, goods and machinery now in progress 
between the East and far West, enforces upon the 
government the duty of placing a strong military 
force all along the various leading roads, and then 
of sending out troops enough to drive the Indians 
to the far North and South, and keeping them there, 
or else of wholly exterminating them. 

Among the present limited number of troops on 
the Plain are two regiments of infantry, all from the 
rebel army. They have cheerfully re-enlisted into 
the federal service. We passed one of these regi- 
ments on the road yesterday, it having just come 
upon the line. They were all young but hardy 
looking men ; and the Colonel, who is of course 
from the old federal army, testified heartily to their 
subordination and sympathy with their new service. 
They are known in the army as "whitewashed 
rebs," or as they call themselves, "galvanized Yan- 
kees." 

Aside from the Indian question — which, indeed, 
gave only a pleasant zest to our progress, and taught 
us novices at which end to hold our pistols and 



12 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

rifles, — we have had a most deUghtful ride so far. 
The weather has been clear and warm ; the com- 
pany intelUgent and good natured; the food at 
the meal stations more excellent than that of the 
hotels and restaurants on the railroads west of Chi- 
cago ; the country and its scenes most novel and 
inspiring. We drove at an average of six miles an 
hour, including all stops, sometimes making full 
ten miles an hour on the road, in an easy and com- • 
modious new Concord stage, such as are in use all 
through this route, and with horses as sprightly and 
in as good condition as you ever rode after in the 
good old days of staging in the Connecticut River 
valley. Every ten or twelve miles we come to a sta- 
tion, sometimes in a village of log and turf cabins, 
but oftener solitary and alone, where we change 
horses ; and every two or three stations, we change 
drivers ; but except for meals, for which half an 
hour is allowed, our stops do not exceed five min- 
utes each. 

The country up to fifty miles of this point, 
presents the characteristics of the finest prairie 
scenery of the West — illimitable stretches of ex- 
quisite green surface, rolling like long waves of the 
sea, and broken at distances of miles by an inter- 
vale with a small stream, along whose banks are 
scattered trees of elm and cotton-wood. Here and 
there is a "ranch" or farm with cultivated land, but 
these grow rarer and rarer — the uniform view is one 
wide rolling prairie, freshly green, spreading out as 
far as the eye can reach, with the distant fringe of 
thin forest by the water-course, and sending forth 



LIFE ON THE PLAINS. 1 3 

and receiving the sun at morning and evening, as 
the ocean seems to discharge and accept it when 
we travel its trackless space. 

No land could be richer; no sight could more 
deeply impress you with the measureless extent of 
our country, and its unimproved capacities, than 
that which has been steadily before us for these two 
days. Within the last fifty miles, the soil grows 
thinner, the grass less rich, the sand hills of the 
Platte rise before the eye, and Plain, rather than 
Prairie, becomes the true descriptive name. The 
streams are few and scant, and the water muddy ; 
but wells give good drinking water all along the 
route, though oftentimes they have to be sunk as 
deep as fifty or seventy-five feet. It is too early yet 
for many of the prairie flowers ; but the rich, fresh 
green of the grass satisfies the eye. Scattered 
through it we catch frequent glimpses of the prai- 
rie hen, multiplying for the hunter's harvest in No- 
vember ; from its bare, last year's stalks floats out 
the liquid music of the larks ; the plover, paired as 
in Paradise, and never divorced even in this west- 
ern country of easy virtue and cheap legislation, 
bob up and down their long necks, or flutter their 
wide wings in flight at every rod ; little blackbirds 
accompany you in great shoals; a lean, hungry- 
looking wolf steals along at a distance with one 
eye on you, and the other on the carcass of a horse 
or ox, dropped in sickness or fatigue from some 
passing train ; away off near the horizon scamper 
most daintily and provokingly a half-dozen ante- 
lopes — too near for restful palates, too far for wait- 



14 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

ing rifles ; and over all and illuminating all floats 
an atmosphere so pure, so rare, so ethereal, as pic- 
tures every object with a pre-Raphaelite distinct- 
ness, makes distant things appear near, and sends 
the horizon far away in an unbounded stretch of 
slightly rounding green earth. Add to these a con- 
stant breeze, tempering the sun to a most grateful 
softness, and bearing an inspiring tonic to lungs 
and heart ; sunsets and sunrises that rival Italy or 
the Connecticut valley ; a twilight prolonged as in 
England ; and a dryness and purity to the atmos- 
phere, that you certainly know not in New England, 
and guards the most exposed against colds, — and 
you may form some idea of the life of our senses 
and sensibilities so far on this excursion. 

But I omit one great feature in the constant land- 
scape — the long trains of wagons and carts, with 
their teams of mules and oxen, passing to and fro 
on the road, going in empty, coming out laden with 
corn for man and beast, with machinery for the 
mining regions, with clothing, food and luxuries for 
the accumulating populations of Colorado, Utah 
and Montana, — for all these territories and the in- 
termediate populations draw their supplies from this 
quarter, and not from the California shore. The 
wagons are covered with white cloth ; each is drawn 
by four to six pairs of mules or oxen ; and the trains 
of them stretch frequently from one-quarter to one- 
third of a mile each. As they move along in the 
distance, they remind one of the caravans described 
in the Bible and other Eastern books. Turned out 
of the road on the green prairie, for afternoon rest 



A STORM ON THE PLAINS. 1 5 

or a night's repose, the wagons drawn around in a 
circle, as a sort of barricade against Indians or pro- 
tection against storm, and the animals turned loose 
to feed, and wandering over the rounding prairie 
for a mile — "cattle upon a thousand hills ; " -at night 
their camp fires burning ; — in any position, or under 
any aspect, they present a picture most unique and 
impressive, indeed. I have seen nothing like it be- 
fore ; and it summons up many a memory of ori- 
ental reading. Just now, these trains are moving 
more compactly than usual, for protection against 
Indian attacks ; but their numbers and the amount 
of goods they are hauling, give you an idea of the 
magnitude and importance of the commerce across 
these Plains, that neither bare figures, nor parts of 
speech can impart. The mule trains make from 
fifteen to twenty miles a day ; and. the oxen about 
twelve to fifteen. They depend entirely upon the 
prairies for food as they go along ; and indeed the 
animals grow stronger and fatter as they move on 
in their summer campaign of work, coming out of 
their winter rest poor and scrawny, and going back 
into it in the fall, fat and hearty. 

The chief sensation and experience of our ride 
so far was a storm of thunder and lightning, hail 
and rain, upon the Plains. Such storms are mem- 
orable in all travel or life in this country for se- 
verity ; and we had one of the very best of them. 
It struck us this morning, about six miles back, 
and just as we had come to the banks of the Platte. 
First came huge, rolling, ponderous masses of cloud 
in the west, massing up and separating into sections 



l6 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

in a more majestic and threatening style than our 
party had ever before seen in the heavens. Then 
followed a tornado of wind. Horses, coach and es- 
cort turned their backs to the breeze, and bending, 
awaited its passing. It stripped us of every loose 
bit of baggage ; and we sent out scouts for their 
recovery. Next fell the hail, pouring as swift rain, 
and as large and heavy as bullets. The horses 
quailed before its terrible pain. Our splendid quar- 
tette of blacks careered and started over the prai- 
rie ; we tumbled out of the coach to save ourselves 
one peril, and so met the other — the fire of the 
heavenly hail; it bit like wasps, it stunned like 
blows. But horses and coach were to be saved ; 
and after a long struggle, in which the coach came 
near overturning, and the horses to running away, 
in dismay and fright, and our driver and military 
friends proved themselves real heroes, and every- 
body got wet, the hail subsided into a pouring rain, 
the horses were quieted and restored to their places, 
and we got into a drowned coach, ourselves like 
drowned rats, and hastened to refuge, over a prairie 
flooded with water, in this hospitable station. We 
are remaining here a few hours to dry our clothes 
and baggage, receive and send dispatches, see the 
quarters of the military establishment, over which 
Colonel Livingston presides, and put ourselves in 
order for another two days' ride to Julesburg, half 
way to our first grand destination at Denver. 

Speaker Colfax is receiving every attention pos- 
sible from such people as there are along this line ; 
everybody seems to know him — many to be his old 



THE GRAND RIDE A TRIUMPH. 1 7 

personal friends in Indiana; the stage proprietors 
and their agents are extending to him and his party 
every hospitality and courtesy ; and the military offi- 
cials only such protection as they are now accord- 
ing to all passengers, and such politeness as their 
good breeding is sure to suggest. For myself, I 
enjoy the grand ride much better than I expected ; 
but for the remaining twinges of sciatica, it would 
be unalloyed pleasure ; and the anticipated sleepless 
night rides prove but small inconvenience. 

2* 2 



LETTER III. 

THROUGH THE PLAINS TO THE MOUNTAINS. 



Denver, Colorado, May 29. 

Our coach rolled into this town, the leading one 
of Colorado Territory, and lying under the very 
shadow of the Rocky Mountains, on Saturday noon, 
exactly "on time," and in less than five days from 
the Missouri River. It was a magnificent, uninter- 
rupted stage ride of six hundred and fifty miles, 
much more endurable in its discomforts, much more 
exhilarating in its novelties, than I had anticipated. 
From Fort Kearney, where we struck the Platte 
River, and finished the first third of the distance, 
we found the soil growing thinner and thinner ; the 
sand hills rose and rolled away in regular serial 
form, north and south; and we* passed on to and 
through the great Central Desert of the Continent, 
stretching from the far distant north to the Gulf 
of Mexico, and separating by four hundred miles 
of almost uninhabitable space the agriculturally 
rich prairies of the Mississippi valley, from the min- 
erally rich slopes and valleys of the Rocky Moun- 
tains. Yet not a desert, as such is commonly in- 
terpreted — not worthless, by any means. The soil 



THE SOIL OF THE PLAINbr I9 

is fat, indeed, compared with your New En^oriand 
pine plains. It yields a coarse and thin grass that;- 
green or dry, makes the best food for cattle that the 
Continent offers. It is, indeed, the great Pasture of 
the nation. This is its present use and its future 
profit. Now it supports the machinery of the com- 
merce of the two great wings of the nation, that it 
both separates and connects. Then — when rail- 
road shall supersede cattle and mules — it will feed 
us with beef and mutton, and give wool and leather 
immeasurable. Let us, then, not despise the Plains ; 
but turn their capacities to best account. 

The Platte is a broad, shallow but swift river, fur- 
nishing abundant good water for drinking and for 
limited irrigation, but offering no possibilities of 
navigation— not even for ferriage. When it is too 
swift and strong for fording, it must be let alone, 
and a route on either shore kept, or the falling wa- 
ters waited for. The soil of the valley and of the 
Plains, which it crosses, is not by any means mere 
sand, but rather a tough, cold, sandy loam, with an 
admixture of clay. It is too cold and dry for corn 
and vegetables. Wheat and barley may be raised 
on its best acres, with the help sometimes of a sim- 
ple irrigation ; but the pasture is its manifest des- 
tiny and use. There is a steady, imperceptible rise 
from the Missouri to the Rocky Mountains ; half 
way, we get above the dew-falling point ; and here 
at Denver, at the base of the mountains, we are five 
thousand feet above the level of the sea. The days 
are warm, however; the sun pours down over its 
shadeless level with a hot, burning power; but si 



ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

.^^md tempers its bitterness, and at night the 
^ir is absolutely cold. This is the universal rule of 
all our western country, beyond the Mississippi val' 
ley, and distinguishes the summers of its whole ex- 
tent from those of the East. 

This valley of the Platte, through these Plains, 
is the natural highway across the Continent. Other 
valleys and routes have similar advantages, but in 
minor degree : this unites the most ; for it is cen- 
tral — it is on the line of our great cities and our 
great industries, East and West, and it is the long- 
est, most continuous. A smooth, hard stage road 
is made by simply driving over it ; a railroad awaits 
only sleepers and rails. Here and there, at rare in- 
tervals, is a gully or dry creek or petty stream to 
cross ; but this, the longest and best stage road in 
the v/orld, has not to-day a quarter of a mile of 
simplest bridging; and a railroad of six hundred 
and fifty miles would not need a mile. There is an 
occasional stretch of heavy sand ; after a rain also 
of temporary mud ; but at this season of the year a 
^eed of ten miles an hour could easily bQ attained 
by horses, with proper relays and a light load, 
throughout the whole distance. This would reduce 
the transit to three days ; but with ponderous mails, 
a heavy coach, and six to fourteen passengers, the 
five days occupied in the journey constitutes a great 
triumph of stage management and horse-flesh ca- 
pacity. 

The region is substantially uninhabitable ; every 
ten or fifteen miles is a stable of the stage proprie- 
tor, and every other ten or fifteen miles an eating- 



WHAT WE HAD TO EAT. 21 

house; perhaps as often a petty ranch or farm- 
house, whose owner Hves by seUing hay to the 
trains of emigrants or freighters; every fifty or 
one hundred miles you will find a small grocery 
and blacksmith shop ; and about as frequently is a 
military station with a company or two of United 
States troops for protection against the Indians. 
This makes up all the civilization of the Plains. 
The barns and houses are of logs or prairie turf, 
piled up layer on layer, and smeared over or between 
with a clayey mud. The turf and mud make the 
best houses, and the same material is used for mil- 
itary forts and for fences around the cattle and 
horse yards. Their roofs, where covered, are a foot 
thickness of turfs, sand, clay, and logs or twigs, 
with an occasional inside lining of skins or thick 
cloth. Floors are oftenest such as nature offers 
only ; and, as at some of the Washington hotels, the 
spoons at the table do not always go around. Mex- 
ican terms prevail : an inclosure for animals is called 
a " corral ; " a house of turf and mud is of " adobe ; " 
and a farm-house or farm a "ranch." 

Our meals at the stage stations continued very 
good throughout the ride ; the staples were bacon, 
eggs, hot biscuit, green tea and coffee ; dried peaches 
and apples, and pies were as uniform ; beef was oc- 
casional, and canned fruits and vegetables were fur- 
nished at least half of the time. Each meal was the 
same ; breakfast, dinner and supper were undistin- 
guishable save by the hour ; and the price was one 
dollar or one dollar and a half each. The devasta- 
tions of the Indians last summer and fall, and the 



22 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

fear of their repetition, form the occasion and excuse 
for enormous prices for everything now upon the 
Plains and in the Territories on this side the moun- 
tains. Twenty-five cents a pound has been charged 
the past year for transporting any sort of goods. 
The government and the stage company have paid 
ten and twelve dollars a bushel for corn, all of which 
has to be brought up from the Missouri and Missis- 
sippi valleys, and from seventy-five to one hund- 
red dollars a ton for hay. But General Connor 
means to emancipate himself from the hay specu- 
lators hereafter ; he has bought twenty-five mowing 
machines, which are to be distributed among the 
military stations, and used by the soldiers upon the 
generous common grass of the river bottoms for 
gathering a winter supply of hay. The stage com- 
pany is also pursuing the same policy. Wood costs 
on the Plains seventy-five dollars a cord, so distant 
are the thin forests that furnish it ; lumber, when it 
is used at all, which is rarely, for it must be freighted 
from one end or the other of the route, one hundred 
and fifty to two hundred dollars a thousand ; a 
wagon and team of oxen (five pairs) twenty to 
twenty-five dollars a day ; common labor two and 
three dollars a day and board. And at Denver, 
the end of the route, here is a specimen of the prices 
to-day : potatoes twenty-five cents a pound or fifteen 
dollars a bushel ; flour fifteen and twenty cents a 
pound ; corn eighteen cents a pound or ten dollars 
a bushel; mechanics and laborers eight and ten 
dollars a day ; beef forty cents a pound, and hams 
forty -five to fifty cents ; girls as house servants ten 



SCENES BY THE ROADSIDE. 23 

dollars a week. These rates are likely to be cut 
down one third or one half during the present sea- 
son, however, as General Connor gives security to 
transportation across the Plains, and competition in 
freighting and merchandising works its legitimate 
influences. 

The ride from Fort Kearney gave us but few new 
experiences. The "noble red man" disappointed 
both fear and hope. He gave us a wide berth; 
perhaps he had intuitive knowledge of our brave 
hearts and our innumerable Colts', Smith & Wes- 
sons', Remingtons', Ballards', and double-barreled 
shot-guns—certainly we bristled with the munitions 
of war like a fortification prepared for assault ; more 
likely he saw the four cavalrymen that constantly 
galloped by our side from station to station, with 
pistols at holsters and rifles slung in the saddles, — 
for bloodthirsty as our red brethren are, when de- 
fenseless men or women or children come in their 
way, they have a holy horror of well-armed soldiers, 
breech-loading rifles, and magazine pistols. They 
easily learn and most faithfully practise the maxim 
of civilization, that discretion is the better part of 
valor. 

Animal and vegetable life, too, grew scantier ; the 
antelope eluded all rifle shot ; only a prairie hen was 
brought down; we were too early for the buffalo, 
and not one crossed our path : as the Plains grew 
more barren, the prickly pear and the sage bush 
became plenty in their tough unfruitfulness ; the 
road was marked more frequently with the carcasses 
of oxen and horses — scarcely ever were we out of 



24 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

sight of their bleaching bones ; occasionally the pa- 
thos of a human grave gave a deeper touch to our 
thoughts of death upon the Plains, deepened, toe, 
by the knowledge that the wolf would soon violate 
its sanctity, and scatter the sacred bones of father, 
mother or child over the waste prairie ; — the wiser 
instinct of the Indian showed itself, once in a while, 
in the sepulture of their kindred above ground — 
for, rolling his dead in a blanket, he places the body 
in mid-air between two forked poles, six or eight 
feet high, and so, if not poised for an upward flight, 
at least safe from vulture profanation ; — and anon we 
grew gay over the lively little prairie dog's, looking 
half rat and half squirrel, as they scampered through 
the grass or dove, with a low, chirruping bark, back 
into their holes. These animals are smaller and 
more contemptible than I had expected ; their holes, 
marked by a hillock of sand, are congregated in 
villages, sometimes extending a quarter or half a 
mile along the roadside. Only a pair occupy each 
hole, but we hear the same story, that earlier trav- 
elers record for us, that a snake ^nd an owl share 
their homes with them. The snakes we did not 
see ; but the owl, a species no larger than a robin, 
solemn, stiff and straight, stood guard at many of 
the holes. 

We passed through an alkali region, where the 
soil for two or three feet seemed saturated with soda, 
and so poisons the fallen water that, if drank by 
man or beast after a shower, it is sure to be fatal. 
All the water of this region and the Plains has a 
savor of alkali or sulphur in it, but not to an un- 



25 

healthy degree. We stopped at Fremont Spring, 
named for its discovery and use by the great ex- 
plorer, on his original trip through this region, and 
found it pure, sweet water, slightly marked with 
sulphur. We were not without our daily paper ; for 
we stopped the incoming stage and had the latest 
California journals, but, though they gave us fresh 
news from the Pacific shore, their eastern intelli- 
gence was indeed a twice-told tale. At the tele- 
graph stations, however, — for those bare but won- 
der-working poles and wires ran in sight all along 
the road, and kept us in their mysterious sympathy 
with friends and home, — we had a special privilege 
of reading the news as it ran East and West, and 
so we were up with the world, though so far out of 
it in all material circumstance. 

We dropped General Connor, who had been our 
fellow passenger from Atchison, early Friday morn- 
ing, at Julesburg, where he has his head-quarters for 
the summer, and where the Platte River forks, one 
branch extending north to Fort Laramie and the 
South Pass through the mountains, and tjie other 
marking our southerly line to Denver. Julesburg 
is only a village of tents and turf forts and barns, 
affording no facilities for a luxurious military life ; 
but it is well located for General Connor's plans for 
protecting the commerce of the Plains from the In- 
dians, and for punishing them for their past offenses 
and present threatenings against it. We took a 
parting breakfast with him in camp, just at sunrise, 
eating canned chicken and oysters ofT tin plates, 
and drinking our coffee with the brownest of sugar 



26 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

and the most concentrated of milk, all in the sim- 
plest and most barren of border life. But we parted 
from him with real regret and a large respect. He 
had shown himself to us both a genuine gentleman 
and a valuable commandant ; and we found reason 
in our personal acquaintance to confirm the judg- 
ment of the people of all this region, that he is of 
all men, whom the government has assigned to the 
duty, the most fit and efficient for restraining the 
Indians, for protecting and developing the interests 
of government and people, for setthng the Mormon 
problem, for giving order and unity to the incoher- 
ent and chaotic social and material life of all this 
vast region. 

General Connor has been for two years in com- 
mand at Utah, and of his administration there and 
his views of the Mormons, I shall have occasion to 
speak when I am on the spot. It is only two 
months since he had assigned to him, also, the pro- 
tection of the Overland Routes across the Plains ; 
but everybody hereabouts notes with pric-e and con- 
fidence the change already introduced. The sol- 
diers have ceased to be thieves and bullies ; a new 
and better social tone is visible in all the mining re- 
gion ; the laws are better respected ; soldiers guard 
the whole central line of travel, and cavalrymen 
escort every stage — there is no longer any real dan- 
ger, or will not be, so soon as a few more troops can 
be put in their j^laces, in traveling or freighting 
over the main road from the river to the mountains ; 
the Indians will speedily be driven back to their res- 
ervations, and forced to submit to whatever terms the 



GENERAL CONNORS PERSONAL HISTORY. 2/ 

government may dictate ; prices will fall along the 
Plains and in the Territories on the eastern slopes 
of the mountains ; and all the business of this vast 
and rich region will receive, under certainty and 
safety, an impetus, and gain an uniformity, that have 
never before marked their history. Whether the In- 
dians shall be wholly exterminated ; or forced into 
submission and half civilization in limited territo- ' 
ries, undisputed for the present by the white; or 
set to work upon the Pacific Railroad — these are 
not points for General Connor to decide. The 
choice belongs to the government at Washington. 
But General Connor will certainly restrain them 
from violence, and punish them for their barbarities. 
He believes they may be made useful in building 
the Pacific Railroad; and he has proposed to fur- 
nish two thousand of one or two tribes, who have 
already submitted to his authority, and whom he is 
now supporting at an enormous expense far distant 
from his base of supplies, to the railroad company 
for an experiment. 

General Connor has a personal history character- 
istic of America. He was born in Ireland, came 
early to New York with his parents, enlisted in the 
United States cavalry, when a young man, for ser- 
vice in our Indian territory, served out his regular 
term, lived in Texas, rejoined the army during the 
Mexican war, and became a captain, removed to 
California, prospered in business as a farmer and 
otherwise, again took up arms for his country when 
the rebellion broke out, and was appointed colonel 
of a California regiment, and thence, by his well- 



28 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

recognized experience and his services in this re- 
gion, was advanced to a brigadiership, and assigned, 
some two or three years ago, to the command of 
the miUtary district of Utah. He is an intelligent 
and accomplished gentleman, in the prime of life 
and power, strict in discipline, clear and strong in 
thought and in its expression; and if willing to 
continue in the service, as I am sure the govern- 
ment ought to be most earnest to have him, and 
-jSustained in his policy, he will most honorably and 
usefully connect his name with the disposition of 
the two great questions of our national responsi- 
bility and duty in this quarter — the Mormons and 
the Indians. Twenty-five years ago. General Con- 
nor left Fort Leavenworth, on the Missouri River, 
a private in the United States regular army. Last 
week he visited it a second time, a Brigadier-gen- 
eral and the Commander of the District of the 
Plains, comprising a larger territory, and embracing 
more delicate and important responsibilities than 
any other single military district in the country. 
The contrast of the two facts tells the whole story 
of his character and his history, and sustains my 
judgment of him. 

The reception of Speaker Colfax and his party on 
their arrival here was very enthusiastic and flatter- 
ing. They were met and welcomed by Governor 
Evans and other territorial officers and a committee 
of the citizens of Denver ; in the evening there was 
a large popular gathering to pay personal respect to 
the visitors; and Mr. Colfax, Mr. Bross, and Mr. 
Richardson made eloquent and effective speeches. 



29 

Mr. Colfax was especially happy and felicitous ; pub- 
lic speaking is as natural and easy to him as swim- 
ming to a duck; and he repeated President Lin- 
coln's parting suggestions and messages to the mi- 
ners with pathetic fidelity, and they were received 
with mournful interest and deep pleasure. Public 
and private courtesies are showered upon him and 
his friends. They start this morning for a visit to 
the mines and the mountains, which will occupy 
four days, when they will return here, and again take 
up their progress westward, in the long ride to Utah, 
next Saturday. They are all in good health and 
the best of spirits — not alcoholic — and very glad 
they came ; especially your s. b. 



LETTER IV. 

THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS AND THEIR GOLD MINES. 



Denver, Colorado, June 2. 

We have been spending an interesting week 
among the Rocky Mountains ; riding and driving 
up and down their rugged sides, through their nar- 
row valleys, and over their occasional plains ; ford- 
ing their turbulent streams ; • gazing with never- 
ceasing delight upon their various forms of beauty, 
under cloud and storm and sunshine, their snow- 
capped peaks, their deep ravines and narrow gorges, 
their purpling, shadowed sides and tops, their high 
pinnacles of rock, monuments of Creation and His- 
tory; and then, descending into the golden mines, 
following tortuous veins of precious rock, hundreds 
of feet beneath the surface, tracing the specks of 
gold among the comparative dross of iron and cop- 
per and lead, hobnobbing with the dusty miners in 
their dreary workshops, faintly illuminated with oc- 
casional candles, and then, ascending to day and 
light again, watching the processes for extracting 
the wealth from the ore, — the irresistible grinding 
of the stamps, the washing with much water, the 
securing with copper and mercury, the after-delay- 



THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS VS. THE ALPS. 3 1 

ing with blankets : all the rarest wonders and beau- 
ties of Nature, all the divinest patience of Labor 
and the faith of Knowledge, all the mysteries of 
Science and the intricacies of Art have been spread 
before us during these crowded days among the 
mines and the mountains of Colorado. 

How the mind runs back to one's youthful, vague, 
mythical knowledge of the Rocky Mountains in 
their actual presence ! How difficult to realize that, 
whereas, twenty years ago, they and their location 
and character and the region about them were al- 
most unknown, now, two weeks from home, I am 
sporting familiarly under their shadows, following 
tediously up their sides, galloping in the saddle 
around their summits, drinking from their streams, 
playing snow-ball in June with their imperishable 
snow banks, descending into their very bowels, and 
finding companionship and society as various and 
as cultured and as organized as in New England; 
cities of thousands of inhabitants, not only at their 
base, but away up in their narrow valleys, eight and 
nine thousand feet above the sea level! All this 
seems dream-like, yet weary head and sore feet and 
stern statistics testify to the reality. 

As to the mountains, as a natural spectacle, they 
are first cousins to the Alps. When the Pacific 
Railroad is done, our Switzerland will be at our very 
doors. All my many and various wanderings in the 
European Switzerland, three summers ago, spread 
before my eye no panorama of mountain beauty 
surpassing, nay none equaling, that which burst 
upon my sight at sunrise upon the Plains, when 



'32 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

fifty miles away from Denver ; and which rises up 
before me now as I sit writing by the window in 
this city. From far south to far north, stretching 
around in huge semi-circle, rise the everlasting hills, 
one upon another, one after another, tortuous, pre- 
senting every variety of form and surface, every 
shade of cover and color, up and on until we reach 
the broad, snow-covered range that marks the high- 
est summits, and tells where Atlantic and Pacific 
meet and divide for their long journey to their far 
distant shores. To the North rises the king of the 
range. Long's Peak, whose top is fourteen thousand 
six hundred feet high ; to the South, giving source 
to the Arkansas and Colorado, looms up its brother, 
pike's Peak, to the hight of thirteen thousand four 
hundred feet. These are the salient features of the 
belt before us ; but the intervening and succeeding 
summits are scarcely less commanding,- and not 
much lower in hight. Right up from Denver stands 
the mountain top that was the scene of Bierstadt's 
" Storm in the Rocky Mountains," and up and down 
these mountain sides were taken many of the stud- 
ies that he is reproducing on canvas with such de- 
light to his friends and fame for himself No town 
that I know of in all the world has such a panorama 
of perpetual beauty spread before it as Denver has 
in this best and broadest belt of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, that rises up from the valley in which it is 
built, and winds away to the right and to the left 
as far as the eye can see — fields and woods and 
rocks and snow, mounting and melting away to the 
sky in a line often indistinguishable, and sending 



THE COLORADO GOLD MINES. 33 

back the rays of the sun in colors and shapes that 
paint and pencil never reproduced, that poetry never 
described. These are sights that the eye never tires 
of — these are visions that clear the heart of earthly 
sorrow, and lead the soul up to its best and highest 
sources. 

Leaving nature for the material, beauty for booty, 
fancy for fact, I come to speak of the mineral wealth 
and development of this section of the Rocky 
Mountains. And, unless I deny the evidence of 
the senses, and the testimony of experience and 
knowledge, I must coincide in the inexhaustibleness 
of the one and the wonderfulness of the other. 
This whole vast range of mountains, that divides 
our Continent, seems indeed crowded with veins of 
rich mineral ore. They run into and through the 
hill-sides as the bars of a gridiron, — every hundred 
feet, every fifty feet, every twenty feet. There is 
no end to them in number ; there is no apparent 
limit to their depth ; one hundred feet, three hund- 
red feet, and four hundred feet have the miners 
sunk shafts, and did we descend, but the veins of 
ore hold their course and their richness undimin- 
ished, oftenest enlarged. 

The chiefest development of these mines in this 
territory lies along and up the Clear Creek, and cen- 
ters, around its sources some forty miles up and in 
the mountains west from Denver. Here, along the 
creek and some narrow gulches leading into it, within 
the space of five miles, is gathered a population of 
some six to seven thousand. The principal villages 
are Central City, Black Hawk and Nevada, holding 



34 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

rank In the order named. These are most uncom- 
fortably squeezed into little narrow ravines, and 
stuck into the hill-sides, on streets the narrowest and 
most tortuous that I ever saw in America; some 
houses held up in dizzy hights on stilts, others bur 
rowed into the stones of the hill, with a gold "lode" 
in the back yard, and often a well issuing from a rock 
of precious metals. But here these towns are, thriv^ 
ing, orderly, peaceable, busy, supporting two of them 
each its daily paper, with churches and schools, and 
all the best materials of government and society 
that the East can boast of. Down in the close val- 
leys, and up the steep hill-sides to the very top, rise 
the mills for grinding out the gold, or the shanties 
that cover the shafts that lead down after the 
ore. Farther away, on the mountains, thick as ant- 
hills or prairie-dog-holes, and looking the same, are 
"lodes" or leads of mineral, discovered, dug into, 
pre-empted, but not worked — hundreds, thousands 
of them, with fortunes or failures involved in their 
development, ready to be tried when the discoverer 
gets time or money, or turned over to a Wall street 
stock company of five millions capital. 

Forty or fifty miles below Denver, near what is 
called the South Park, a beautiful table-land of 
meadow and wood between Pike's Peak and the 
main range, is the second center of mineral devel- 
opment in Colorado territory; but this one upon 
Clear Creek is, as yet, the scene of largest improve- 
ment and population. Other sections of the terri- 
tory are probably as rich in valuable ore ; some are 
well believed to be much more so ; no part of the 



THE QUARTZ MILLS. 35 

mountains may be held wholly barren ; it happens 
only that these localities were most attainable, and 
were first lit upon by the early comers. What is 
called gulch mining, or washing the sand and soft 
and pulverized rock of the valley, for the gold that 
ages of rains have filtered out of the solid rock of 
the mountains, is about over in Colorado — we. see 
only now its abundant ruins in sluices, piles of 
worked over earth, and the rotting simple machin- 
ery sometimes used; yet in some of the fresher 
gulches, this work is still profitable ; and we saw 
pan washings that turned out one, two and three 
dollars to the pan, I have a dollar's worth of gold 
dust that I saw washed out from about three quarts 
of earth, in less than ten minutes of time. 

The chief attention now is given to the solid 
mining; but for various causes, principally from the 
high prices of labor and provisions, all mining here 
has been dull for nearly a year. Not moie than 
twenty or twenty-five of the one hundred stamp 
mills in the territory are now at work. With labor 
and food from three to four times as high as at the 
East, growing mainly out of the interruption to com- 
munication by the Indians, and the inflation of the 
currency last year, and the short supply of laborers 
because of the war, and with gold now reduced to 
nearly par, mining hardly pays expenses. When 
expenses get back, as they are soon likely to do, to 
the currency standard, the business will again be- 
come profitable, and be actively resumed. Prepar- 
ations are fast making for this now, and mills and 
mines are being set in order, and resuming work. 



3^ ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Another reason of the dull times is that much of 
the best property has been changing hands, passing 
from the early or original owners and workers into 
joint stock companies, owned mainly in the East, 
which in some cases are not conducting the busi- 
ness so wisely as their predecessors, and in others 
are stopping for a better labor and supply market, 
or to enlarge and improve their works. Again, it 
is believed the mining interest is on the eve of 
great improvements in the processes of extracting 
the gold from its associate metals and sulphides, and 
owners of mines and mills are experimenting in this 
direction, or are content to wait for the results of 
others' experiments. 

The common process of crushing the ore into 
fine powder, and then washing the same upon cop- 
per plates coated with quicksilver, which collects the 
disintegrated gold, or is supposed to, it is well ascer- 
tained gets but about twenty-five per cent, of all the 
precious metal. Three-quarters goes off in the " tail- 
ings," or refuse, as they are called. With such a 
waste, only the most valuable of the ore pays ex- 
penses at such times as these. Good ore yields about 
one hundred dollars in gold per cord, or twelve dol- 
lars per ton, under the stamping and quicksilver pro- 
cess. This leaves a fair margin under favorable 
management, for getting out the ore costs about 
forty dollars a cord, hauling five dollars, and crush- 
ing and extracting twenty dollars. Choice ores yield 
three hundred dollars a cord; but these are rare. 
The difiiculty is not in separating the gold from the 
pure copper, iron or lead, or the quartz with which 



NEW INVENTIONS FOR EXTRACTING GOLD. 3/ 

it is compacted ; but the sulphurets of these metals, 
which suffuse and coat the whole, are the plague and 
mystery. These cover and hold the gold in a stern 
chemical lock, how to break which in a simple, ef- 
fective way is the great study of the mineral chem- 
ists and mining capitalists. Various processes are 
on trial ; one which we Saw applies a hot flame and 
a brisk wind to all the pulverized ore, which changes 
its chemical character, burns up the sulphurets, and 
leaves the metals all free ; then they are scoured, 
so as to brighten the gold, and then washed, as 
originally, in copper pans coated with quicksilver, 
which, better than any other article in these days 
of paper currency and forgotten coin, knows the 
gold when it sees it, and sticks to it with fraternal 
embrace. This process was getting twenty-five dol- 
lars a ton from the "tailings" or refuse of the old 
or common process, or twice as much as was origi- 
nally obtained. Another process has obtained three 
hundred and seventy-five dollars from less than a 
ton of "tailings," which is probably many times 
what the original ore produced by the common 
stamping and washing. The object desired is to 
"desulphurize" the ore; both these inventions do 
this, though in different ways. When the thing is 
done, and this season can hardly pass until it is sat- 
isfactorily accomplished, we shall see the Colorado 
mines yielding from five hundred to eight hundred 
dollars per cord of ore, instead of from fifty to two 
hundred and fifty dollars as now. (A cord is rated 
at about eight tons, though different ores vary very 
much in weight.) This rate of production will at 



38 ■ ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

once put a new phase upon the business, afford al- 
most any price for labor and supplies, redeem all 
the mining companies from whatever present em- 
barrassments they feel, stimulate- the investment of 
capital in these mines with great rapidity, and even, 
by generous dividends, go far to excuse that vicious 
system of putting up a mining company's stock to 
one, two, three and five millions, when the actual 
cash investment was not over as many hundreds of 
thousands. 

This last habit of parties interested in the mining 
business has had a most fatal influence upon the 
whole interest ; the small dividends upon large, many 
tim-es watered capitals have erroneously represented 
the state of the business ; and the suspicions and dis- 
trust, that the operation has surely scattered among 
outside capitalists, have hindered if not forbidden 
investments. Few or none of the companies now 
operating here have spent over two hundred and 
fifty thousand or three hundred thousand dollars 
for their mines, machinery and mills, yet their capi- 
tals are reckoned by millions ; and of course in hard 
times like these they can afford no adequate, seduc- 
tive dividends on such swollen sums. How much 
better it would be to have the shares in a half mil- 
lion company, worth twice the par value, and receiv- 
ing dividends of twelve to fifty per cent., than with 
a nominal capital of two or three millions, tlie stock 
selling for seventy-five dollars per share, and receiv- 
ing small dividends with doubt and irregularity, no 
honest, sensible man can fail to see. I meet no 
manager of a mine here, whether an old miner or 



THE PRODUCT OF THE COLORADO MINES. 39 

an agent from the home capitahsts, who does not 
condemn, as fooHsh in itself, a fraud upon the pubHc, 
and a damage to the whole mining interest, this 
practice of making the nominal capitals from two to 
ten times the actual, in the generally vain hope of 
gulling the flats in Wall street or in New England 
country towns. This mining business of the West 
is too promising in real profit, too legitimate and 
necessary to the national wealth and development, 
to be trifled with in this weak and wretched way. 

The gross production of the Colorado gold mines 
is not correctly known. The United States mint 
reports only ten millions in all up to July first of 
last year. This puts the Territory next to California 
in total product, ranking her above North Carolina 
or Georgia in all their history ; but it gives her only 
a small proportion of the whole production of the 
nation from the beginning till now, — -ten millions 
out of six hundred millions, California being accred- 
ited with all but about forty millions' of the gross 
amount. Other authorities give Colorado's total 
production as over fifty millions, accrediting her 
with twenty millions in a single year (1864;) but 
these figures are certainly as far the other way. An 
intelligent authority here (General Pierce, the sur- 
veyor-general of the Territory,) gives me the follow- 
ing estimates: 1862, ten millions; 1863, eight mil- 
lions ; 1 864, five millions. The falling off indicates 
nothing as to the real wealth of the mines, only 
changes in the business of producing, and the nat- 
ural results of high prices. The year 1 862 embraced 
successful Fulch mining, and the first of the quartz 



40 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

mining, under most favorable circumstances, follow- 
ing a year (1861) of depression and non-production 
far more fruitful of croakers than 1864 and the first 
half of 1865 have been. Just now the new Territo- 
ries of Idaho and Montana, in the far North, are 
drawing off the floating population, the gulch min- 
ers, and those eager for fortunes at a jump. The 
day of these is over here. Slow and sure is now 
the motto for Colorado, as for California. Her ca- 
pacity is . proven, admitted ; capital, science, labor 
and machinery will return twenty-five, fifty and one 
hundred per cent, on their investments ; but gold 
eagles are no longer picked up by the basketsfull, 
and hundred thousand dollar fortunes in a day or a 
month, are not to be had here, — but further on, if 
at all. 

The reports from Idaho and Montana, particu- 
larly the latter, are indeed astonishing; the gulch 
mining, discovered and developing in Montana, is 
reliably reported to me as far richer than any ever 
realized in California or Colorado, paying steadily 
an ounce of gold (sixteen to eighteen dollars) a day 
to the man, and in some gulches two and three 
ounces a day. But these placers will soon be worked 
out ; these Territories, like their predecessors, will 
speedily come down to the hard-pan, and have to 
pick and powder and stamp and melt out their gold 
from the solid mountains that hold the original de- 
posits. Montana and Idaho, too, must hold out 
greater inducements at first, in order to secure their 
peopling and development, for the one is dependent 
on Oregon for supplies, and eight hundred miles 



IRON AND COAL IN COLORADO. 4I 

away from a base at that; while Montana has to 
come this way for everything to eat and work with, 
and is at least one thousand six hundred miles away 
from railway and water communication. 

All reports, all facts, whether floating in the air 
from mouth to mouth, or ground out by hard expe- 
rience, and put down in black and white, go to sus- 
tain the broadest ^nd fullest meaning of the dying 
statement of President Lincoln, that the United 
States hold the treasury of the zvorld; and establish 
beyond reasonable doubt, that the countries of and 
adjacent to the Rocky Mountains are freighted with 
the most precious of ores — gold first, next silver, in 
which Nevada and Utah are most conspicuous, and 
Colorado not found wanting, and then copper (with 
which the Colorado mineral veins are richly loaded), 
and also lead, iron and coal. On the Plains, near 
the foot of the mountains, coal and iron are already 
found In abundant quantities, and are being mined 
and put to practical use. Found, too, j ust where they 
are most needed, to take the place of the wood, now 
fast being drained from the mountains, and furnish 
the material for the machinery necessary to work 
over the ore and make available the finer metals. 
Irrigation, already entered upon on a large scale, 
even here, will supply agriculture with its lacking; 
and through and by all these means combining, and 
worked with the energy and enterprise of the Amer- 
ican people, stimulated by the great profits sure to 
be realized from wise and persevering use of the 
opportunities, the western half of the American na- 
tion will fast move forward in civilization and popu- 

A* 



42 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

lation ; this wilderness will blossom as the rose, and 
the East and the West will stand alike equal and 
together, knowing no jealousy, and only rivaling 
each other in their zeal for knowledge, liberty and 
civilization. But of what effect^ upon the currencies 
and the values of the world will be all this tide of 
gold and silver pouring into the lap of nations .-^ 
Will their commerce and populations grow in ex- 
tent and want in equal proportions, and absorb what 
is to be so lavishly fed out to them .? Perhaps so. 
But these promises of the American nation and these 
resulting queries are rich in thought and study. 



LETTER V. 

OF PERSONS, NOT THINGS. 



Denver, Colorado, June 3. 

Our week in Colorado is ended ; we are off this 
morning for the seven days' stage ride north and 
west along the base of the Rocky Mountains, and 
through them at Bridger's Pass, to Salt Lake City, 
where we expect to worship with Brigham Young 
in his tabernacle on Sunday week. While here and 
n-i the adjacent mountains, Mr. Colfax has made half 
a dozen speeches, and redelivered his Chicago eu- 
logy upon President Lincoln, the latter at the re- 
quest of Governor Evans on the occasion of the 
national mourning (June ist,) for the loss of our 
lamented chief magistrate. He has been received 
with distinguished honor, made a most favorable 
impression, and encouraged the miners and people 
of the Territory in many ways by his presence and 
his words. Their compliments to him ended last 
evening by a grand gala supper at the principal ho- 
tel in this town, in which the leading officials of the 
Territory, General Connor, and the ladies and gen- 
tlemen of the village to the number of over . one 
hundred participated. Though the tickets were 



44 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

twelve dollars each, which is a fair specimen of 
prices this way, they were soon in earnest demand 
at an advance of three dollars. The entertainment 
proved a brilliant one in every respect ; various and 
bountiful and elegant as a feast ; graceful and grace- 
fully rendered by both ladies and gentlemen as a 
compliment ; and humorous, eloquent, interesting, 
and inspiring in its speeches. We go on in our 
journey with a rich sense of the hospitality and the 
kindness, the enterprise and the intellectual and so- 
cial culture of the people of Colorado, both in its 
City of the Plains and its Cities of the Mountains. 
Never was progress in wealth, in social and political 
organization, in the refinements of American home 
life, more rapid and more marked than in the brief 
history thus far of Colorado. Soon she will enter 
the Union as a State, holding not only the elements 
but the acquired realities of a noble and proud one, 
and contributing largely, as she has steadily done 
even as a Territory, to the common profit of the na- 
tion. From the beginning, Colorado has always 
sent more gold to the East than she has brought 
back in goods; and she is destined to be perma- 
nently a profitable partner in the household. 

Your readers may like to know more of my com- 
panions on this long journey before we go farther 
on. Let me introduce them. As a public man, 
everybody knows about Mr. Colfax; how prominent 
and useful he has been through six terms in Con- 
gress, and how, by virtue of his experience, ability 
and popularity, he has come to be Speaker, and 
stands before the country one of its best and most 



PORTRAIT OF MR. COLFAX. 45 

promising statesmen. But this is not all, nor the 
best of the man. He is not one of those^ to whom 
distance lends enchantment ; he grows near to you, 
as you get near to him ; and it is, indeed, by his 
personal qualities of character, by his simplicity, 
frankness, genuine good nature, and entire devoted- 
ness to what he considers right, that he has princi- 
pally gained and holds so large a place on the public 
arena. Mr. Colfax is short, say five feet six, weighs 
one hundred and forty, is young, say forty-two, has 
brownish hair and light blue eyes, is a childless wid- 
ower, drinks no intoxicating liquors, smokes a la 
General Grant, is tough as a knot, was bred a prin- 
ter and editor, but gave up the business for public, 
life, and is the idol of South Bend and all adjacen- 
cies. There are no rough points about him ; kind- 
liness is the law of his nature ; — while he is never 
backward in differing from others, nor in sustaining 
his views by arguments and by votes, he never is 
personally harsh in utterance, nor unkind in feeling, 
and he can have no enemies but those of politics, 
and most of these find it impossible to cherish any 
personal aniniosity to him. In tact, he is unbounded, 
and with him it is a gift of nature, not a studied art ; 
and this is perhaps one of the chief secrets of his 
success in life. His industry is equally exhaustless ; 
■ — he is always at work, reading, writing, talking, 
seeing, studying — I can't conceive of a single un- 
progressive, unimproved hour in all his life. He 
is not of brilliant or commanding intellect, not a 
genius, as we ordinarily apply these words ; but the 
absence of this is more than compensated by these 



4-6 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Other qualities I have mentioned, — his great good 
sense, his quick, intuitive perception of truth, and 
his inflexible adherence to it, his high personal in- 
tegrity, and his long and valuable training in the 
service of the people and the government. With- 
out being, in the ordinary sense, one of the greatest 
of our public men, he is certainly one of the most 
useful, reliable and valuable ; and in any capacity, 
even the highest, he is sure to serve the country 
faithfully and well. He is one of the men to be 
tenaciously kept in public life ; and I have no doubt 
he will be. Some people talk of him for president ; 
Mr, Lincoln used to tell him he would be his suc- 
cessor; but his own ambition is wisely tempered by 
the purpose to perform present duties well. He 
certamly makes friends more rapidly and holds them 
more closely than any public man I ever knew; 
wherever he goes, the women love him, cJid the men 
cordially respect him ; and he is sure to be always 
a personal favorite, even a pet, with the people. 

The other official of the party, Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Bross of Illinois, is indeed our pater familiaSy 
our "governor." Hale and hearty in body and 
mind ; ripe with say fifty-five years and a wide expe- 
rience and culture in school, college and journalism ; 
cheery in temperament, enjoying rough, out-door 
life like a true, unspoiled child of Nature ; sturdy in 
high principles ; unaffected and simple in manners 
and feeling as a child ; a ready and most popular 
stump speaker ; enthusiastic for all novel experience, 
we all give him our heartiest sympathy and respect, 
and constitute him the leader of the party. Our 



GOVERNOR BROSS AND MR. RICHARDSON. 4/ 

best foot, we always put him foremost, whether dan- 
ger, or dignity, or fun is the order of the occasion. 
Governor Bross was born in New Jersey, — and so 
says he never can be president, as the Constitution 
requires that officer to be a native of the nation ; 
lumbered on the Susquehannah ; went to Williams 
College, Massachusetts ; taught school in Franklin 
and Berkshire counties ; ditto and married in New 
York ; and, following the star of empire, went to 
Chicago, and, entering on the editorial profession, 
has gone on from small to great things, until he is 
now the senior proprietor and editor of the leading 
journal of the North-west, and the second officer in 
the State government of Illinois. 

Mr. Richardson of the New York Tribune has 
lived on the borders of Bohemia for many years, 
sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, and 
presents all the contradictions of such an existence. 
Of eastern Massachusetts birth and early education, 
(with a brother who is the able conductor of the 
Boston Congregationalist) he learned while young 
to love the smell of the printing office and the ro- 
mance of the reporter's life, and ran the round of 
editorial experience in nearly all our western cities ; 
then was bitten by the passion for travel and border 
life ; came out to Kansas for the Boston Journal ; 
then to Colorado with Mr. Greeley, edited a news- 
paper out here during the early days of bowie knives 
and Colt's revolvers ; crossed the Plains half a dozen 
times ; went to Texas and New Mexico ; and finally, 
as the war came on, after making a secret tour of 
the South as a special correspondent for theTribune, 



48 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

became the head of the western and south-western 
army correspondents of that paper, and in under- 
taking to run the gauntlet of the rebel batteries at 
Vicksburg, when General Grant opened his final cam- 
paign in that quarter, was captured by the enemy ; — 
as their pet and special prisoner he went the rounds 
of their jails and pens, and after twenty months* 
servitude made his escape, and in a wonderful jour- 
ney of one month through the rebel country in win- 
ter, reached our lines in safety, and became a hero. 
Notwithstanding this long Bohemian life, amid rough 
people and in out-of-the-way places, Mr. Richardson 
imposes on you with the style and air of a man who 
has had a very narrow escape from the pulpit, and 
cherishes a natural hankering for it yet. Certainly 
you never would recognize in him a true child of 
Bohemia. He wears black broadcloth and "biled 
shirts," (the v/estern phrase for white under-clothes,) 
does not chew tobacco, disdains whiskey, but drinks 
French brandy and Cincinnati Catawba, carries a 
good deal of baggage, does not know how to play 
poker, and shines brilliantly among the ladies. He 
is a young widower of less than thirty-five, of me- 
dium size, with a light complexion and sandy hair 
and whiskers, and is a very companionable man. 
His large and peculiar experience in the West and 
in the South by field and flood, gives him a rich 
store of anecdote and illustration, with which he en- 
tertains us on our long stage rides. He is already 
famous .before the country ; and his new book of ex- 
periences in the South will make him much more 
so. It is probable he will stay longer on the Pacific 



"A DISTINGUISHED COMPANION. 49 

shore than the rest of the party, and perhaps revisit 
Utah, the Mining Regions and Mountains, with the 
view of making a book upon them another season. 

Looking-glasses are banished from overland bag- 
gage, and the fourth member of the party must, 
therefore, remain unsketched. But there is a num- 
ber five, who is occupying too important a share in 
our experience, to be forgotten in any call of the 
roll. This is Mr. George K. Otis of New York, the 
special agent and representative of our host, Mr. 
Holladay of the Overland Mail and Stage Line. 
He accompanies us in the capacity of guide, phi- 
losopher and friend, which he most generously ful- 
fills. Himself, under Mr. Holladay, the organizer 
and manager of the stage line, he is acquainted 
vvjth all this region and its people; and being a 
itian of infinite jest and of free and generous nature, 
we lack nothing under his protecting care, which a 
thoughtful generosity, nor a practical experience, 
nor abounding humor and wide intelligence can 
give us. His puns are sometimes "fearfully and 
wonderfully made"; but he earns forgiveness by 
making himself a large share of our daily comfort 
and pleasure. Happy those who fall to the travel- 
ing companionship of Otis ! 

Accompanying so distinguished and popular a 
public officer as Mr. Colfax, we share mutually in 
the hospitalities extended to him ; we have access to 
the most intelligent sources of information ; we see 
and learn in a short time what ordinary private trav- 
elers could only gain by long and careful observa- 
tion and examination. Everywhere, so far, the 
5 4 



50 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

people of the towns visited are bountiful in theit 
courtesies; the journey is one continued ovation; 
public receptions and entertainments, and the choi- 
cest of private hospitalities are showered upon us; 
and we find that neither the graces nor the culture 
of life are confined to the East. They flourish here 
among the Rocky Mountains as beautifully as in the 
parlors of Boston, or the sweet groves of the Con- 
necticut valley. 

Most agreeable of all our experiences here are 
the intelligent, active, earnest, right-minded and 
right-hearted young men and women we meet ; peo- 
ple, many of whom have been here for years, but, 
instead of losing anything- of those social graces 
that eastern towns and cities are wont to think 
themselves superior in, have not only kept even 
pace in these, but gained a higher play for all their 
faculties, and ripened, with opportunity and incen- 
tive and necessary self-reliance, into more of man- 
hood and womanhood. Everywhere, too, I find old 
friends and acquamtances from the Connecticut 
valley; and nowhere do I find them forgetting old 
Massachusetts, or unworthy her parentage. I see 
less drunkenness ; I see less vice here among these 
towns of the border, and of the Rocky Mountains, 
than at home in Springfield ; I see personal activity 
and growth and self-reliance and social development 
and organization, that not only reconcile me to the 
emigration of our young people from the East to 
this region, but will do much to make me encour- 
age it. To the right-minded, the West gives open 
opportunity that the East holds close and rare ; and 



THE OVERLAND STAGE LINE. 5 1 

to such, opportunity is all that is wanted, all that 
Ihey ask. 

The great Overland Stage Line, by which we are 
Iraveling. was originated by Mr. William H. Russell 
of New York, and carried on for a year or two by 
himself and partners, under the name of Russell, 
Majors and Waddell. They failed, however, and 
some three years ago it passed into the hands of 
their chief creditor, Mr. Ben Holladay, an energetic 
Missourian, who had been a. successful contractor 
for the government and for great corporations on the 
Plains and the Pacific. He has since continued the 
line, improving, extending and enlarging it until it 
is now, perhaps, the greatest enterprise owned and 
controlled by one man, which exists in the country, 
if not in the world. His line of stages commence 
at Atchison, on the Missouri River: its first section 
extends across the great Plains to Denver, six hund- 
red and fifty miles ; from here it goes on six hundred 
miles more to Salt Lake City, along the base of and 
through the Rocky Mountains at Bridger's Pass. 
From there to Nevada and California, about seven 
hundred and fifty miles farther, the stage line is 
owned by an eastern company, and is under the 
management of Wells, Fargo & Co., the express 
agents. All this is a daily line, and the coaches 
used are of the best stage pattern, well known in 
New England as the " Concord coach." P'^rom Salt 
Lake, Mr. Holladay runs a tri-weekly coach line 
north and west nine hundred and fifty miles through 
Idaho to the Dalles on the Columbia River in north- 
ern Oregon, and branching off at Fort Hall, also a 



52 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

tri^weekly line to Virginia City in Montana, four 
hundred miles more. From Denver, too, he has a 
subsidiary line into the mountain centers of Cen- 
tral City and Nevada, about forty miles. Over all 
these routes he carries the mail, and is in the re- 
ceipt for this service of six hundred and fifty thou- 
sand dollars per annum from the government. His 
whole extent of staging and mail contracts — not 
counting, of course, that under Wells, Fargo & Co., 
from Salt Lake west, — is two thousand seven hun- 
dred and sixty miles, to conduct which he owns some 
six thousand horses and mules and about two hun- 
dred and sixty coaches. All along the routes he has 
built stations at distances of ten to fifteen miles ; 
he has to draw all his corn from the Missouri River ; 
much of his hay has also to be transported hun- 
dreds of miles ; fuel for his stations comes frequently 
fifty and one hundred miles ; the Indians last year 
destroyed or stole full half a million dollars' worth 
of his property, — barns, houses, animals, feed, &c. ; 
he pays a general superintendent ten thousand dol- 
lars a year; division superintendents a quarter as 
much; drivers and stable-keepers get seventy-five 
dollars a month and their living ; he has to mend and 
in some cases make his own roads — so that, large as 
the sum paid by the government, and high as the 
prices for passengers, there is an immense outlay, 
and a great risk in conducting the enterprise. Dur- 
ing the last year of unusually enormous prices for 
everything, and extensive and repeated Indian raids, 
Mr. Holladay has probably lost money by his stages. 
The previous year was one of prosperity, and the 



MR. HOLLADAY AND HIS STAGES. 53 

next is likely to be. But with so immense a ma- 
chine, exposed to so many chances and uncertain- 
ties, the returns rnust always be doubtful. Only a 
great man would assume such an enterprise; only 
a strong man could carry it through, over such ob- 
stacles as are constantly presented ; and the regu- 
larity, the promptness and the uniform high state of 
the entire service, in general and particular, make 
of the whole a matter of real wonder, and an occa- 
sion of great credit to Mr. Holladay. It is very 
natural that he should be unpopular along his route, 
and be denounced as a monopolist, taking advantage 
of his monopoly to extort high prices and give 
small accommodations ; this is the universal experi- 
ence of such great enterprises in a new country. 
But it would be difficult, if not impossible, through 
these infant and struggling years of this country, — 
where travel and business of all kinds are uncertain 
and irregular, and prices fluctuating, and the risk 
of losses from Indians and robbers very great, — to 
discover here or elsewhere the man or the means 
for the performance of this great service so perfectly 
as Mr. Holladay does it ; and I am inclined to reckon 
him high among the agencies that are so fast de- 
veloping the great western Territories of the Re- 
public, and to doubt if many others in the commu- 
nity are doing their share in the work more fairly 
to the public than he is. The passenger fares by 
his stages are now, from Atchison to Denver one 
hundred and seventy-five dollars, to Salt Lake three 
hundred and fifty dollars, to Nevada five hundred 
dollars, to California five hundred -dollars, to Idaho 
5* 



54 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

five hundred dollars, to Montana five hundied dol- 
lars. These are much higher than they were two 
years ago, and will probably be reduced during the 
season, as safety from the Indians and lower prices 
for food and corn are assured, from thirty-three to 
fifty per cent. 

Mr. Holladay now resides in New York City, and 
is reported to be immensely wealthy, — say five mil- 
lions. He owns and runs, also, lines of steamships 
in the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco, north to 
Oregon and British Columbia, and south to Mazat- 
lan, Mexico, with contracts for the mails on both 
routes from our government or from Maximilian of 
Mexico. He conducts all this immense business 
successfully by the choice of able and trusty mana- 
gers to whom he pays large salaries. Mr. John E. 
Russell, formerly of Greenfield, Massachusetts, is his 
confidential secretary and financier at New York; 
Mr. George K. Otis is his special agent at Washing- 
ton ; Mr. William Reynolds, a life-long stage mana- 
ger, dating his education as such back to Chester 
W. Chapin, Horatio Sargent and Frank Morgan in 
Springfield, but since with large experience in the 
South and California, is the general manager of the 
overland line, resident at Atchison ; and his (Mr. 
Holladay's) brother resides at San Francisco in 
charge of his steamships. . Mr. Holladay visits his 
overland line about twice a year, and when he does, 
passes over it with a rapidity and a disregard of 
expense and rules, characteristic of his irrepressi- 
ble nature. A year or two ago, after the disaster 
to the steamer Golden Gate on the Pacific shore. 



FAST RIDES OVER THE PLAINS. 55 

by which the only partner he ever had, Mr. Edward 
Rust FHnt, son of old Dr. Flint of Springfield, lost 
his life, and himself barely escaped a watery grave, 
he made the quickest trip overland that it is possi- 
ble for one man to make before the distance is 
shortened by railway. He caused himself to be 
driven from Salt Lake to Atchison, twelve hundred 
and twenty miles, in six and one-half days, and was 
only twelve days and two hours from San Francisco 
to Atchison. The trip probably cost him twenty 
thousand dollars in wear and tear of coaches and 
injury to and loss of horses by the rapid driving. 
The only ride over the Plains, at all comparable 
with this, was that made by Mr. Aubrey, on a wager, 
from Santa Fe to Independence, seven hundred 
miles, in six and one-half days. But this was made 
on horseback, and when the rider reached his desti- 
nation, he was so exhausted that he had to be lifted 
from his horse. How exciting the thought of such 
rides as these across these open fields and through 
these mountain gorges, that make up the half of 
our Continent! 



LETTER VI. 

A SUNDAY IN THE MOUNTAINS. 



Virginia Dale, Colorado, June 5. 

There are no aristocratic distinctions between 
the days of the week west of the Missouri. The 
Broad Church rules here, and so broadly that even 
Saint Burleigh of your modern Florence would find 
hearty welcome, particularly from our red brethren, 
who would rate his scalp with its ornaments at the 
value of a dozen of the ordinary sort. Sundays 
are as good as other days, and no better. Stages 
run, stores are open, mines are dug, and stamp mills 
crush. But our eastern prejudices are not yet alto- 
gether conquered by the "spirit of the age;" and 
so, on reaching here yesterday morning at sunrise, 
we commanded a twenty-four hours' halt. Possi- 
bly our principles had a point put to them by learn- 
ing from the down stage that Mr. " Lo, the poor 
Indian" had got loose up the line, stolen the horses, 
and interrupted communication. At any rate, — be 
the motive fear for our scalps or fear for our souls, — 
we followed the fashion of our forefathers, and slept 
through the day, some of us in the coach, the rest 
stretched out on the piazza of the only house in 



SWEET VIRGINIA BALE. 57 

Virginia Dale ; clambering up a high rock in the 
evening to view the landscape o'er of valley, stream, 
snow-clad mountain, and far-distant plain, and clos- 
ing out our observances with a more hearty than 
harmonious rendering of our small repertoire of 
psalm tunes. 

Lodgings are not extensive in this locality ; the 
Speaker borrowed a bed ; two slept in the coach ; 
and two of us rolled ourselves up in our blankets 
and took the floor. I hit upon a board whose hard 
s-ide was accidentally put up ; and what with this, 
and hungry and dry and noisy stage drivers coming 
in at from two to four A. m., and less vociferous but 
quite as hungry invaders of our bodily peace in the 
form of vermin, the night brought more of reflec- 
tion than refection — to us. But we are off early 
this morning, having satisfied our Christian con- 
sciences, and learned that the Indians were cer- 
tainly still one hundred and fifty miles away, but 
leaving behind for a Monday's rest a fresh stage 
load of eager gold seekers and Salt Lake merchants, 
whom our scruples on the subject of Sunday trav- 
eling had thrown one day behind. But they were 
solaced by the arguments that we would make the 
paths straight for them above, that they must stop 
somewhere, and that here was the best food and 
the prettiest cook on the line. 

Virginia Dale deserves its pretty name. A pearly, 
lively-looking stream runs through a beautiful basin, 
of perhaps one hundred acres, among the moun- 
tains, — for we are within the embrace of the grea. 
hills, — stretching away in smooth and rising pastur. 



58 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

to nooks and crannies of the wooded range ; fronted 
by rock embattlement, and flanked by the snowy 
peaks themselves; warm with a June sun, and rare 
and pure with an air into which no fetid breath has 
poured itself, — it is difficult to imagine a more lova- 
ble spot in nature's kingdom. It is one hundred 
miles north from Denver, half of the way along the 
foot of the hills, crossing frequent streams, swollen 
and angry with the melting snows, and watering the 
only really green acres we have seen since leaving 
Kansas ; and half the road winding over and around 
and between the hills that form the approaches to 
the Rocky Mountains. .Only the station of the 
stage line occupies the Dale; a house, a barn, a 
blacksmith shop ; the keeper and his wife, the latter 
as sweet, as genteel and as lady-like as if just trans- 
planted from eastern society, yet preparing bounti- 
ful meals for twice daily stage-loads of hungry and 
dirty passengers; the stock-tender and his assist- 
ant,— these were all the inhabitants of the spot, and 
no neighbors within fifteen miles. For the day, 
our party and its escort, — the soldiers lying off on 
the grass by the water with their camp fire and their 
baggage wagon, — made unusual life, and gave a pe- 
culiar picturesqueness to the sequestered spot. 

How women, especially, can live contentedly in 
these out-of-the-way places on the borders, wor];ing 
hard and constantly, among rough and selfish men, 
and preserve their tender femininity, keep them- 
selves neatly and sometimes even gracefully dressed, 
and not forget their blushes under free compliments, 
would be passing strange, if we did not sec it daily 



MOKE OF COLORADO. 59 

in our journey, and know it by the whole history 
of the sex. I certainly have seen young women 
out here, miles away from neighbors, knowing no 
society but their husbands and children and the 
hurried travelers, — depending on the mails for their 
chief knowledge of what the world is doing, — who 
could pass without apology or gaiichcrie to presiding 
over a Boston dinner party or receiving in state at 
Washington. Not all, indeed, are such, but they 
are frequent enough to be noted with both surprise 
and pleasure. 

This is the northern border of Colorado. We 
pass to-day into Dacotah. Before parting with the 
former Territory, let me note a few facts about it and 
its people. Colorado has now not over twenty-five 
to thirty tliousand population, which is five to ten 
thousand fewer than in i860. The adventurers are 
gone. What remain are the substantial, the earn- 
est, who have cast in their lot with the Territory, 
are satisfied with its promise, and are wisely work- 
ins; for the construction of a State and their own 
estate. A very large proportion are men who came 
here four, five and six years ago, and have a reason 
for the faith that is in them. Last year, a move- 
ment to become a State failed, mainly because of 
the unpopularity of the men prominent in it, and 
candidates for its principal offices. It will be re- 
newed this year, under more favorable and prom- 
ising auspices. The population is too small, indeed, 
for a State ; but there are advantages in it, and ne- 
cessities, almost, for it, that justify both the people 
in seeking and the general government in recog- 



60 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

nizing the change. The Territory has great inter- 
ests, national indeed in character, needing more 
vigorous interpretation and espousal at Washing- 
ton than can be secured by a delegate. The popu- 
lation is compact and enterprising and ambitious ; 
willing to assume the burdens of a government for 
themselves ; and appreciating the advantages they 
will get from it. 

One especial motive with the Coloradians for 
making a State government is to get a judiciary of 
their own, that shall be both more intelligent and 
independent than that furnished by the Washing- 
ton authorities. The men sent out to these new 
Territories as judges are not. apt to be of a very high 
order either of morals or intellect. They are often 
hungry adventurers ; and their salaries bearing gen- 
erally no comparison to the cost of living in these 
remote regions, and large pecuniary interests often 
being involved in the questions brought before 
them, — as is especially the case in the mining Ter- 
ritories, — they are too apt to yield to the tempta- 
tions offered to them, and sell their judgments for 
a price. However this may be in Colorado's recent 
experience, her best citizens are convinced that they 
can get a higher morality, a stricter justice, and a 
more intelligent law from judges of their own selec- 
tion and paying, than from those sent out here and 
paid by " Uncle Sam." . 

A case has just occurred in the mining districts, 
not illustrating, as I know of, the venality of the 
federal judiciary, but calculated, at least, to bring it 
into contempt. General Fitz John Porter, famous 



A CASE OF "contempt." 6 1 

as General McClellan's pet, and notorious as having 
loved his patron and his spite against General Pope, 
better than his country and her service, is out here 
as superintendent of some mines. He claimed a 
vein, that belonged to Smith & Parmalee, as the 
latter thought, and began working it. The other 
party resisted ; Judge Harding sustained Porter by 
an injunction against Smith & Parmalee ; but when- 
ever Porter's men undertook to work in the vein, 
they found it filled with such sulphurous and offen- 
sive smoke that they could not stay in it, and had 
to come out. How the smoke came there, no one 
could tell ; but, as the vein connected with the 
Smith & Parmalee mine, everybody could guess. 
Thereupon Smith & Parmalee were brought before 
Judge Harding on alleged "contempt of court," for 
smoking out the party of the other part : nothing 
could be proven against them, however ; but the 
most learned judge decided that the defendants had 
not disproven the alleged contempt, and so held 
them in five thousand dollars bail! The judicious 
grieved, the unskillful laughed, and everybody said 
there could be no contempt too great for such a 
court as that. This Judge Harding is from Indiana, 
and was first sent by Mr. Lincoln to be Governor of 
Utah, but becoming offensive and ineffective there, 
he was recalled, and given this judgeship to break 
his fall. But beside a broken character as a public 
officer, he brought hither such scandalous. Mormon 
ways of living, as to shock all shades of public opin- 
ion, which is now uniting to drive him out of the 
Territory. 
6 



62 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

As the great need of the business men and min- 
ers in Colorado is male laborers, so that of the 
housekeepers is female laborers or "help." House- 
keeping in large families — and children do accu- 
mulate surprisingly here — is a very serious burden 
to the wives and mothers. Their eastern sisters, 
in their direst woes with poor servants, can have 
but faint appreciation of the burdens of living and 
entertaining here, where cooks and waiting girls 
are not to be had at any price. We go to rich 
dinners and bountiful teas at the homes of distin- 
guished and wealthy citizens, and sit and eat with- 
out the company of hostess or any other ladies. She 
and her friends are busy in the kitchen, and come 
out only to stand behind our chairs, and change 
the plates and pass the viands. There is ah un- 
comfortable feeling in being thus entertained ; but 
it is the necessity of the country, and all parties 
make the best of it. The price of the comriionest 
of female labor is two dollars a day and board. 
But the Colorado ladies have their compensations ; 
their husbands complain that they can get no 
goods, no machinery out from the States under a 
year from the time of ordering — that all business, 
all progress must wait this long delay ; yet the ladies 
shine in the latest fashions of millinery and dress- 
making. Modes that were but just budding when I 
left home, I find in full blossom here. How it is 
done I do not understand — there must be a subtle 
telegraph by crinoline wires ; as the southern ne- 
groes have what they call a grape-vine telegraph. 

The burden laid upon all agriculture, the absolute 



IRRIGATION. 63 

want of all horticulture as yet in all this country, 
are aniong" its serious drawbacks. The winds, the 
sun, the porous yet unfriable soil, the long seasons 
of no or inadequate rain, leave all vegetation gray 
and scanty, except it is in direct communication with 
the water-courses. Trees will not live in the house 
yards ; house owners can have no turf, no flowers, 
no fruits, no vegetables — the space around the 
dwellings in the towns is a bare sand, relieved only 
by infrequent mosses and weeds. The grass is 
gray upon the plains ; cotton-wood and sappy pine 
are almost alone the trees of the mountain region ; 
no hard wood is to be found anywhere ; and but for 
the occasional oases by the streams, and the rich 
flowers that will spring up on the high mountain 
morasses, the country would seem to the traveler 
nearly barren of vegetable life. But what there is 
is rich in quality ; the coarse and gray bunch grass 
of plain and prairie, of hill-side and rocks, affords 
the best of nutriment for horses, cattle and sheep ; 
they grow fat fast upon it in summer, and exist upon 
it in winter. Even here, where, in June we see 
snow on the hill-sides close to us, and shiver under 
double blankets at night, the cattle live out of 
doors through the long winter. It is, indeed, a 
rich grazing country, and will support its herds of 
thousands. 

Irrigation is a necessity for all extensive cultiva- 
tion of the soil, however : and the extent to which 
this is already being employed, and the amount of 
money invested in it, are occasions of surprise. But 
with the far distance of all competing production, 



64 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

and the great fertility of the soil when thus devel- 
eped, it will richly pay to carry water from the 
?nountain streams miles on miles from their natural 
courses, and spread it by little artificial rivulets 
over acres on acres of grains, potatoes and the 
other vegetables. A plan is in progress of execu- 
tion for bringing a large water-course some fifteen 
miles around Denver, and letting it out in gentle, 
fructifying streams all over the town and its adja- 
cent farms and gardens. Then will this now barren 
wilderness of store and house and sand blossom 
like the rose ; then can door-yards be green with 
grass, shaded with trees, and beautiful with flowers. 
Meantime, the people must live on canned fruits 
and vegetables from the East; and possess their 
esthetic souls in patience, for the rest, in magnify- 
ing their mountain view of charming yet constant 
beauty. Tho extensive and common use of these 
imported productions of our eastern orchards and 
gardens in all the country west of the Missouri 
River, is most astonishing. They are on every ta- 
ble ; few New England housekeepers present such 
a variety of excellent vegetables and fruits, as we 
find everywhere here, at every hotel and station 
meal, and at every private dinner or supper. Corn, 
tomatoes, beans, pine apples, strawberry, cherry 
and peach, with oysters and lobsters, are the most 
common ; and all of these, in some form or other, 
you may frequently find served up at a single meal. 
These canned vegetables and fruits and fish are 
sold, too,, at prices which seem cheap compared 
with the cost of other things out here. They range 



PRICES IN COLORADO. 6$ 

from fifty cents to one dollar a can of about two 
quarts. Families buy them in cases of two dozen 
each at twelve to fifteen dollars a case ; while away 
up in Montana, they are sold at only twenty-seven 
dollars a case. 

Colorado has four daily and four weekly papers, 
two each at Denver, and one each at Black Hawk 
and Central City, in the mining region ; and though 
their circulation is small — some five to seven hun- 
dred each — the large prices they get for subscrip- 
tions, for advertising and for printing, serve to sup- 
port them all liberally. Let me close with the 
current Colorado rates of staples and luxuries : 
Flour twenty cents a pound, meal twenty-three 
cents, hams fifty cents, lard forty cents, syrup five 
dollars per gallon, cheese seventy-five cents, coffee 
seventy-five cents, brown sugar forty-five cents, 
butter sixty cents, milk fifty cents per quart, best 
cigars fifty cents each, printing paper sixty-eight 
cents per pound, daily paper, per year, twenty-four 
dollars, weekly seven dollars, brooms one dollar, 
molasses four dollars and a half per gallon, boots 
fourteen dollars per pair, common labor, per day, 
five dollars. And here are some of the latest 
Montana prices, twelve hundred miles farther on : 
Flour fifty to sixty cents a pound, hams seventy-five 
cents, golden syrup eight dollars, cheese one dol- 
lar, crackers ninety cents, beans fifty cents, wood 
twelve to fifteen dollars per cord, lumber one hun- 
dred dollars per thousand. The high price and ter- 
rible quality of whisky and other liquors in all these 
distant Territories are operating as a very effective 
6* c- 



^ ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

temperance agent. I see very little of them or of 
their effects anywhere. 

Some of the vernacular of the mountains is suf- 
ficiently original and amusing to be reported, also. 
A "square" meal is the common term for a first 
rate one; "shebang" means any kind of an estab- 
lishment, store, house, shop, shanty; "outfit" has a 
wider range, your handkerchief, your suit of clothes, 
the cut of your hair, your team, your whole posses- 
sions, or the most infinitesimal part or item there- 
of; and "affidavit" signifies anything else that these 
other terms do not cover. 



LETTER VII. 

FROM DENVER TO SALT LAKE— THROUGH THE 
ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 



Salt Lake City, June 12. 
We finished early yesterday (Sunday) morning 
the second and severest third of the great stage- 
ride across the Continent. We are now two-thirds 
the way to Cahfornia, and the rest of the journey 
seems easy compared to what has been passed over. 
It is through a more peopled country, freer from 
Indian raids, and will be relieved to us by more 
frequent resting-places. The distance from Denver 
to Salt Lake City is six hundred miles ; we should 
have driven it in five days but for the Indians, who 
broke in upon the line before us and cleaned it out 
of horses for fifty miles, threw the country into 
confusion and travel into anxiety, and delayed our 
progress for two or three days, so that we were in 
all seven days in the trip. But we just escaped 
more severe possible disaster; for the "pesky sar- 
pints," as they are not unnaturally reckoned by ev- 
erybody in the West, hovered close upon both our 
front and our rear ; our escort drove off a band of 
them who were attacking a train of repentant and 



68 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

returning Mormons, right in our path ; and they 
swooped in upon a stage station the night after we 
passed it, stole all its horses, killed the two stock- 
tenders, also three of the five soldiers who were 
located there as guard, and severely if not mortally 
wounded the other two. But though our escort 
was small over this line, never over ten cavalrymen, 
and sometimes none at all, our coach came through 
unmolested. 

Whether these fresh Indian inroads in this quar- 
ter presage a general Indian war, are by pretended 
friendly tribes or those known to be inimical, are 
mainly for getting supplies of horses, which has 
seemed to be the principal object, or inspired by 
general hate and bloodthirstiness, or, so far as they 
have fallen upon the ''Josephites" or deserting Mor- 
mons, have been directed by some of the leaders of 
the Latter Day Saints here to put a stop to this 
sort of depletion of their power and population; 
whether they are by petty straggling bands, led by 
desperate white robbers, or are the advance couriers 
of all the warlike tribes of the Plains and the Moun- 
tains, — there is only one course to be pursued with 
regard to them, and that General Connor is now 
doing with new energy. He will guard and patro/ 
the whole main overland road, as he has been do- 
ing the lower part of it, with cavalrymen and in- 
fantry, and give an escort to every stage ; from the 
military posts, every one hundred to two hundred 
miles along the route, he will send out scouting 
parties to track up the marauders ; if the raids and 
murders can be traced to friendly tribes, as has 



THE INDIAN QUESTION. 69 

been done in one or two cases, he will demand those 
engaged in it, and failing to get them will seize and 
hang some of the principal chiefs ; — he will re- 
taliate quickly and sharply ; and then, with a large 
force, now gathering at Fort Laramie, he will go in 
pursuit of the great body of the hostile Indians in 
the North, and inflict upon them a sharp punish- 
ment ; — and so conveying to them all the knowledge 
of our power and purpose to make them peaceable, 
do the best and only thing to secure their friend- 
liness. The government is ready to assist in their 
support, to grant them reservations, to give them 
food and make them presents ; but it must and 
will, with sharp hand, enforce their respect to travel, 
their respect to lives and property, and their respect 
to trade throughout all this region. 

And if this cannot be secured, short of their utter 
extermination, why extermination it must be. Else, 
we may as well abandon this whole region ; give up 
its settlement, its subjugation to civilization, its de- 
velopment to wealth and Christianity. It is the 
old eternal contest between barbarism and civiliza- 
tion, between things as they have been and are, and 
material and moral progress ; and barbarism and 
barbarity must go to the wall, somewhat too roughly 
perhaps, as is always the case with new, earnest, 
material communities, but yet certainly^ The Mor- 
mons have exhausted the Quaker policy towards 
the Indians ; have fed and clothed them for years, 
paying them in all ways heavy subsidies, in consid- 
eration of being let alone ; but they are growing 
tired of it, both because it is expensive, and is not 



70 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

sure of success. Only a few days ago, some In- 
dians attacked the Mormons at a settlement about 
eighty miles south of here, and killed eighteen or 
twenty persons. Brigham Young and other offi- 
cials of Church and State went down to investigate 
the matter and restore peace; they have just come 
back, reporting success, and laying part of the 
blame on the whites, but still with less of the old 
disposition to subsidize the barbarians. 

Montana is disturbed with reports of Indian out- 
rages ; this whole region of mountains and plains 
is sensitive and suffering with the apprehensions or 
the realities of their general recurrence ; commerce 
suffers ; prices go up ; emigration stops ; and all 
the development of the great West is clogged. No 
wonder is it, then, that the entire white population 
of the Territories clamors for positive measures of 
restraint and punishment. The red man of reality 
is not the red man of poetry, romance, or philan- 
thropy. He is false and barbaric, cunning and 
cowardly, attacking only when all advantage is with 
him, horrible in cruelty, the terror of women and 
children, impenetrable to nearly every motive but 
fear, impossible to regenerate and civilize. The 
whites may often be unjust and cruel in turn ; but 
the balance is far against the Indian ; and the 
country must sustain the government and General 
Connor in pursuing a vigorous offensive and defen- 
sive policy towards him. 

Do not suppose, however, we lost sleep or rations, 
or eyes for passing scenery, as we rolled over the 
mountains, and passed the divide between the great 



THE ANTELOPE AND TROUT. 71 

oceans of America. We rested proudly on our 
own prowess and the rifles of our escort. We had 
immense faith in the double-barreled shot-gun of 
Governor Bross; and we created terrible alarm 
among some emigrants in our rear by firing at a 
mark in our front. So we ate our antelope, when 
we could get it, and our "mountain chicken" (fried 
bacon) regularly, with faith in its undisturbed di- 
gestion, and cuddled up each in his corner at night 
for equally reliable sleep. The canned fruits and 
vegetables and clean table-cloths disappeared for a 
time after Virginia Dale, but the antelope came in 
to soften the fall ; one of our escort shot one of the 
bounding beauties as he stopped, five hundred yards 
away, to gaze through his limpid, liquid eyes in won- 
der on our turn-out; and we found him and his 
successors most luscious eating — very delicate deer, 
tender, melting and digestible. 

The antelopes weigh from sixty to eighty pounds, 
are fawn-like in color and appearance, have short, 
branching horns, and are plenty at all seasons upon 
the high plains and in the mountains of the region. 
The elk, as large as a small cow, and with horns 
four to six feet long, and the black-tailed deer are 
rarer game; this is not the season for shooting 
them ; and they cling closer to the mountains. Of 
fish we had but few ; trout were as abundant as fe- 
ver and ague in Indiana, but always a little way off, 
at the next brook or station. The soldiers at Fort 
Halleck had just made captive a cinnamon bear, 
which strayed down into camp from an adjoining 
mountain; and our stage gave a wide berth to a 



72 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

grizzly bear, which was taking his midnight nap in 
the middle of the road. The grizzly was the only 
animal that our courage and our double-barreled 
shot-gun were not equal to ; and he is, indeed, next 
to the Indian, the terror of all hunters. Wc missed, 
too, the sage hen, a favorite game of the region, but 
not of the season; rabbits scented our approach 
and scooted away out of shot ; the retreat of the 
hungry, thievy-looking wolf was hastened by our 
balls ; only the ridiculous little prairie dogs and the 
funnier and littler squirrels — beautifully striped with 
black, and hardly bigger than a mouse — sported 
carelessly in our warlike presence. 

The scant, coarse vegetation of the Plains and 
of Denver's neighborhood grew green and rich in 
our memory, as we came on north and west from 
Virginia Dale, entered the Laramie Plains, passed 
along on the snow line, crossed the mountain range 
at Bridger's Pass, and went out upon the country 
of the Bitter Creek. The Desert of the Mountains 
is far drearier and more barren than the Desert of 
the Plains. That seems redeemable and has its 
uses ; this is only for trying the patience and tax- 
ing the ingenuity of man. There is very little to 
redeem the middle two hundred miles of our ride 
from utter worthlessness for human service. The 
soil is sand, so saturated with alkali as to poison its 
water, and to give the earth the appearance, in spots, 
sometimes for large areas, of a fresh hoar frost or a 
slight snow. Grass is only a spasmodic tuft. The 
sage bush is the chief, almost only vegetation — 
a coarse, wild form of our garden sage, growing 



THE DESERT OF BITTER CREEK. 73 

rugged and rough from one to three feet high ; yet 
mules and cattle sometimes will eat it because they 
must or die, and it does make quick, hot fire for the 
emigrants' and wagon-drivers' kettles — but think of 
savoring your food with soap and sage tea ; think of 
putting a soap factory and an apothecary shop into 
one room, and that your kitchen ! Through all this 
inhospitable, barren region, there are no buildings 
save the stage stations; no inhabitants but the 
stock-tender and the station-keeper ; an occasional 
tented wigwam of half-breed or father of half-breeds 
stands by a stream: we pass with pity the emi- 
grant's slow wagon and the mule train — hot and 
dusty and parched by day, cold and shivering and 
parched by night ; — it is a wonder how people can 
go alive through this country at the rate of only 
twelve and fifteen miles a day, and finding food and 
drink as they go. But they do, year by year, thou- 
sands by thousands. Shall the Indian still add to 
the horrors of the passage, as he has and does .-* 

The road, too, grows rough ; sluices and gulches 
are frequent and deep ; rocks begin to abound ; and 
the stage staggers about in a way frightful to all 
exposed parts of the body. Yet we do not seem to 
be going over the highest range of mountains in the 
country ; we are passing rather through hardly per- 
ceptible rising valleys ; and though the mountains 
that guard us on either side grow nearer and lower 
to us, they always seem to be above us rather than 
under us. Striking the North Platte, as it first 
comes out of the mountains, but rough and rapid as 
are all the streams of the mountains at this season 



74 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of melting snow, and some thousand miles from 
where we parted company with it at Julesburg on 
the Plains, to follow its southern sister to Denver ; 
we enter upon the night ride through Bridger's Pass, 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific slopes of the Rocky 
Mountains. You need to be told what you are do- 
ing. There is no slow hill-climbing; the horses 
trot the stage along ; and the soldier escort gallop 
behind. Not through valleys still, but apparently 
along and up the beds of departed rivers, with 
mountain walls on either hand, — sometimes ten or 
twenty miles wide, and again narrowing to rods, 
but oftenest miles in width ; on one side bare, per- 
pendicular walls of rock, thrown into all imaginable 
and unscientific combinations of the original or 
sub-original formations, and since carved and fluted 
by wind and sand and rain into all and every shape 
that architecture ever created, or imagination fan- 
cied; on the other, rounded hill-side with scant 
verdure and occasional stunted tree and frequent 
snow-bank. Not in one continuous bed or valley, 
was our upward course, but a succession of such, 
leading one into another. 

So we rode on through the clear twilight, that 
lingers till nine and ten o'clock in this region, into 
the rich moonlight that only gave new form and 
beauty to the rocks, and out into the morning dawn 
that hastens on at two to three ; watching the wa- 
ter to sec which way it ran, and building Pacific 
Railroads along these easy grades back to home and 
forward to fame and fortune. I was in the saddle, 
galloping with the captain of the escort; but the 



THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE WINDS. 75 

earlier and more enthusiastic lieutenant-governor of 
Illinois, who kept guard with the driver on the box, 
shouted out the passage over the line — it was no 
more than a "thank-ye-marm" in a New England's 
winter sleigh-ride, yet it separates the various and 
vast waters of a Continent, and marks the fountains 
of the two great oceans of the globe. But it was 
difficult to be long enthusiastic over this infinitesi- 
mal point of mud ; the night was very cold, and I 
was sore in unpoetical parts from unaccustomed 
saddles, and I got down from all my high horses, 
and into my corner of the stage, at the next station. 
The effect of the high winds and blowing sands 
and sharp rains of this region upon the soft rock 
and clay of some of these hills, is certainly very 
curious. These agencies have proved wonderful 
miracle-workers. Wind-augers Mr. Fitzhugh Lud- 
low called them, I believe ; but some of his stories 
as to their performances are purely imaginative, 
and only excite ridicule among the mountaineers. 
But the tall, isolated rocks, that surmount a hill, 
sometimes round, but always even and smooth as 
work of finest chisel; the immense columns and 
fantastic figures upon the walls of rock that Une a 
valley for miles ; the solitary mountains upon the 
plain, fashioned like fortresses, or rising like Gothic 
cathedral, and called biittes (a French word signify- 
ing isolated hill or mountain), separated from their 
family in some great convulsion of nature; the 
long lines of rock embankment, one above another, 
formed sometimes into squares like a vast fort, and 
again numing along for miles, a hundred feet above 



76 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

the valley, looking like the most perfect of railroad 
embankment, with the open space occasionally for a 
water course ; — -these and kindred original fashions 
of nature, with details indescribable and picturesque, 
constitute the sole redeeming feature for scenery of 
the country I have been describing, and are a con- 
stant excitement and inspiration to the traveler. 

One of the most curious single specimens of this 
natural architecture, that we passed on our road 
down the Pacific slope, is called "The Church 
Butte," and is familiar to all overland travelers. At 
a distance, it looms up on the level plain, a huge, 
ill-shapen hill ; near by, it appears the most mar- 
velous counterfeit of a half-ruined, gigantic, old- 
world Gothic cathedral, that can be imagined. We 
stopped before it just as the sun had gone down in 
the west, and as the full moon came up the eastern 
horizon, and the soft, contrasting lights, deepening 
slowly into shadowy dimness, gave exquisite devel- 
opment to the manifold shapes and the beautiful 
and picturesque outlines, that rock and clay had 
assumed. The Milan or the Cologne cathedral, 
worn with centuries, ill-shapen with irregular de- 
cay, could not have looked more the things they are 
or would be, than this did. Everything belonging 
to the idea was there in some degree of preserva- 
tion. Porch, nave, transept, steeple, caryatides, 
monster animals, saints and apostles, with broken 
columns, tumbled roof, departed nose or foot, worn 
and crumbling features, were all in their places, or 
a little out, but recognizable and nameable. We 
walked around this vast natural cathedral of sand- 



"the church BUTTE. 7/ 

Stone and clay — a full half mile — and greater grew 
our wonder, our enthusiasm. The hour and the 
light were certainly propitious ; but viewed under 
any light, it is certainly one of the great natural 
wonders of the Continent, and is chief among three 
or four things that have already abundantly repaid 
me for this long journey. 

Flowing out from the Butte on all sides was a 
thick solid stream of fine stone and clay, that told 
how the work was done, how it was going on still, 
refining, pointing, carving, chiseling, but gradually 
and surely leveling, as all mountains, the world 
over, are being leveled, and the whole surface of 
the globe made one vast plain. The share which 
the high winds and the sand they take up and blow 
with powerful force in right lines, and in curves, and 
in whirls, have in this great work, both in its fanta- 
sies and in its destruction, is such as can hardly be 
realized by those who have not experienced or wit- 
nessed them. Sand showers or sand whirlpools are 
of almost daily occurrence. They load the atmos- 
phere with sand ; they carry it everywhere ; among 
rocks, into houses, through walls, into the bodies of 
everything animate and inanimate, and there keep 
it at its work of destruction and reconstruction. 
There is a window among the mountains of Colo- 
rado that a single storm of this sort has changed 
from common glass into the most perfect of ground 
glass ; and the fantastic architecture of its creation 
among the rocks of the country, from the North 
Platte to Fort Bridger, can only be understood and 
appreciated by being seen. 



78 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

As we approached Fort Bridger, the country 
grew fairer — sage bush gave way to grass; the 
streams became purer; timber lined the water 
courses; and the land became bearable indeed. 
Fort Bridger is an old and pleasantly located post ; 
a fresh river runs through the camp yard ; the val- 
ley looks sweet and green in June ; and back rise 
the always beautiful and always snow-covered moun- 
tains. Here we stopped, had kind greeting at two 
o'clock in the morning, went to bed for the first 
time in a week, and after a sumptuous breakfast 
with Judge Carter, the merchant and magistrate of 
the precinct, passed on and over into the basin of 
the Great Salt Lake. But that day's ride, and our 
reception and experiences among the Mormons 
must wait another letter. 

We remain here for a full week. The grass is 
too green ; the trees too new to our eyes ; the 
roses too red and refreshing ; the strawberries and 
green peas too tempting to our carnal appetites ; 
the curious social and wonderful material develop- 
ments of this city and Territory too rare and re- 
markable ; and the hospitality of the people, Mor- 
mon and Gentile, too generous and inviting, to per- 
mit us to leave hurriedly. 



LETTER VIIT. 

THE WAY INTO UTAH : RECEPTION BY THE MOR- 
MONS. 



Great Salt Lake City, Utah, June 14. 
Leaving Fort Bridger for our last day's ride 
hither, we leave the first Pacific slopes and table- 
lands of the Rocky Mountains, drained to the south 
for the Colorado River and to the north for the 
Columbia, and go over the rim of the basin of the 
Great Salt Lake, and enter that Continent within a 
Continent, with its own miniature salt sea, and its 
independent chain of mountains, and distinct river 
courses ; marked wonderfully by nature, and marked 
now as wonderfully in the history of civilization by 
its people, their social and religious organization, 
and their material development. This is Utah — 
these the Mormons. I do not marvel that they 
think they are a chosen people ; that they have been 
blessed of God not only in the selection of their 
home, which consists of the richest region, in all the 
elements of a State, between the Mississippi valley 
and the Pacific shore, but in the great success 
that has attended their labors, and developed here 
the most independent and self-sustaining industry 



80 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

that the western half of our Continent witnesses. 
Surely great worldly wisdom has presided over their 
settlement and organization ; there have been tact 
and statesmanship in the leaders ; there have been 
industry, frugality and integrity in the people; or 
one could not witness such progress, such wealth, 
such varied triumphs of industry and ingenuity and 
endurance, as here present themselves. 

We enter Utah over and among a new series of 
hills, the belongings of the Wasatch Mountains, 
the first of the subsidiary ranges of the Rocky 
Mountains, and the eastern guard and parent of the 
Salt Lake valley. We have our finest day's ride 
yet along the crests of hills eight thousand feet 
high, and through valleys and gorges guarded by 
perpendicular walls of rock, all rich with a spring 
verdure that is fresh and grateful to our eyes. We 
play at snow ball from the large white drifts that 
lie along our road ; and we pick abundant flowers 
at the same time. These spring up quickly with 
the grass, watered by melting snow, and inspired 
by the sun's hot heat ; for twice hot it is compared 
w^ith our eastern sun, in these high western regions. 
Some are new to mine eyes ; many wear familiar 
faces, though greatly modified by change of soil 
and climate ; and above all other colors, the yellow 
predominates. Did you ever think this the favorite 
color of nature.'* What other clothes your mead- 
ows and these hills with buttercups and dandelions 
till green is out-borne by yellow ? What other has 
more varieties of plants in its list — more shades in its 
blossoming? Here I find new ones ; among others 



ECHO CANYON. 8 1 

little sun flov/ers, a foot high, three or four blossoms 
to a plant, and plants as thick as plantains by the 
pasture path. Let us treat yellow, then, with more 
respect, since it is nature's chosen ; and learn, as 
we may, what variety and range of beauty there is 
in its shades. 

So we rolled rapidly through summer and winter 
scenes, with sky of blue and air of amber purity, 
and when the round moon, came up out from the 
snowy peaks, giving indescribable richness and soft- 
ness to their whiteness, we kept on and on, now up 
mountain sides, now along the edge of precipices 
several hundred feet high, down which the stumble 
of a horse or the error of a wheel would have 
plunged us ; now crossing swollen streams, the wa- 
ter up to the coach doors, now stammering through 
m.orass and mire, plunging down and bounding up 
so that we passengers, instead of sleeping, were 
bruising heads and tangling legs and arms in en- 
acting the tragedy of pop-corn over a hot fire and 
in a closed dish ; and now from up among the clouds 
and snow, we tore down a narrow canyon at a break- 
neck rate, escaping a hundred over-turns and top- 
pling on the river's brink until the head swam with 
dizzy apprehensions. Most picturesque of all the 
scenes of this day and night ride was the passage 
through Echo Canyon, a very miniature Rhine val- 
ley in all but vines and storied ruin. The only 
ruins in it were those of feeble fortifications which 
the Mormons set up when President Buchanan 
marched his army against them, but halted and 
went away without attack, leaving stores of pro- 



82 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

visions, wagons and ammunition, and a contempt for 
the government, neither of which the Mormons have 
quite exhausted yet. Early "sun-up" brought us 
to the last station, kept by a Mormon bishop with 
four wives, who gave us bitters and breakfast, the 
latter with green peas and strawberries, and then, 
leaving wife number one at his home, went on with 
us into the city for parochial visits to the other three, 
who are located at convenient distances around the 
Territory. 

Finally we came out upon the plateau or "bench," 
as they call it here, that overlooks the valley of the 
Jordan, the valley alike of Utah Lake and the Great 
Salt Lake, and the valley of the intermediate Great 
Salt Lake City. It is a scene of rare natural 
beauty. To the right, upon the plateau, lay Camp 
Douglas, the home of the soldiers and a village in 
itself, holding guard over the town, and within easy 
cannon range of tabernacle and tithing-house ; right 
beneath, in an angle of the plain, which stretched 
south to Utah Lake and west to the Salt Lake — 
"and Jordan rolled between," — was the city, regu- 
larly and handsomely laid out, with many fine build- 
ings, and filled with thick gardens of trees and 
flowers, that gave it a fairy-land aspect; beyond 
and across, the plain spread out five to ten miles 
in width, with scattered farm-houses and herds of 
cattle ; below, it was lost in dim distance ; above, it 
gave way, twenty miles off, to the line of light that 
marked the beginning of Salt Lake — the whole flat 
as a floor and sparkling with river and irrigating 
canals, and overlooked on both sides by hills that 



SALT LAKE CITY. 83 

mounted to the snow line, and out from which flowed 
the fatness of water and soil that makes this once 
desert valley blossom under the hand of industry 
with every variety of verdure, every product of 
almost every clime. 

No internal city of the Continent lies in such a 
field of beauty, unites such rich and rare elements 
of nature's formations, holds such guarantees of 
greatness, material and social, in the good time 
coming of our Pacific development. I met all along 
the Plains and over the mountains, the feeling that 
Salt Lake was to be the great central city of this 
West ; I found the map, with Montana, Idaho, and 
Oregon on the north, Dacotah and Colorado on the 
east, Nevada and California on the west, Arizona 
on the south, and a near connection with the sea by 
the Colorado River in the latter direction, suggested 
the same : I recognized it in the Sabbath morning 
picture of its location and possessions ; I am con- 
vinced of it as I see more and more of its opportu- 
nities, its developed industries, and its unimproved 
possessions. 

Mr. Colfax's reception in Utah was excessive if 
not oppressive. There was an element of rivalry 
between Mormon and Gentile in it, adding earnest- 
ness and energy to enthusiasm and hospitality. 
First "a troop cometh," with band of music, and 
marched us slowly and dustily through their Camp 
Douglas. Then, escaping these, our coach was way- 
laid as it went down the hill by the Mormon au- 
thorities of the city. They ordered us to dismount ; 
we were individually introduced to each of twenty 



84 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of them ; we received a long speech ; we made a 
long one — standing in the hot sand with a sun of 
forty thousand lens-power concentrated upon us, 
tired and dirty with a week's coach-ride: was it 
wonder that the mildest of tempers rebelled? — 
transferred to other carriages, our hosts drove us 
through the city to the hotel ; and then — bless their 
Mormon hearts — they took us at once to a hot sul- 
phur bath, that nature liberally offers just on the 
confines of the city, and there we washed out all 
remembrance of the morning suffering and all the 
accumulated grime and fatigue of the journey, and 
came out baptized in freshness and self-respect. 
Clean clothes, dinner, the Mormon tabernacle in 
the afternoon, and a Congregational ("Gentile") 
meeting and sermon in the evening, were the other 
proceedings of our first day in Utah. 

Since, and still continuing, Mr. Colfax and his 
friends have been the recipients of a generous and 
thoughtful hospitality. They are the guests of the 
city ; but the military authorities and citizens vie 
together as well to please their visitors and make 
them pleased with Utah and its people. The Mor- 
mons are eager to prove their loyalty to 'the gov- 
ernment, their sympathy with its bereavement, their 
joy in its final triumph — which their silence cr their 
slants and sneers heretofore' had certainly put in 
some doubt — and they leave nothing unsaid or un- 
done now, towards Mr. Colfax as the representative 
of that government, or towards the public, to give 
assurance of their rightmindedness. Also they 
wish us to know that they are not monsters and 



PICNIC AT SALT LAKE. 8$ 

murderers, but men of intelligence, virtue, good 
manners and fine tastes. They put their polygamy 
on high moral and religious grounds ; and for the 
rest, anyhow, are not willing to be thought other- 
wise than our peers. And certainly we do find here 
a great deal of true and good human nature and 
social culture ; a great deal of business intelli- 
gence and activity ; a great deal of generous hos- 
pitality — besides most excellent strawberries and 
green peas, and the most promising orchards of 
apricots, peaches, plums and apples that these eyes 
ever beheld anywhere. They have given us a ser- 
enade ; and Mr. Colfax has addressed them at length 
with his usual tact and happy effect, telling them 
what they have a right to expect from the govern- 
ment, and reminding them that the government 
has the right to demand from them, in turn, loyalty 
to the Constitution and obedience to the laws, and 
complimenting them on all the beauty of their 
homes and the thrift of their industry. Governor 
Bross and Mr. Richardson also made happy ad- 
dresses, and the crowd of the evening, and the 
"distinguished guests" gave every sign of being 
mutually .pleased with each other. 

We have been taken on an excursion to the Great 
Salt Lake, bathed in its wonderful waters, on which 
you float like a cork, sailed on its surface, and pic- 
nicked by its shore, — if picnic can be without wo- 
men for sentiment and to spread table-cloth, and 
to be helped up and over rocks. Can you New 
Englanders fancy a "stag" picnic.^ We have been 
turned loose in the big strawberry patch of one of 



86 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

the saints — very worldly strawberries and more 
worldly appetites met and mingled; and we have 
had a peep into a moderate Mormon harem, but 
being introduced to two different women of the 
same name, one after another, was more than I 
:ould stand without blushing. 

In Mormon etiquette, President Brigham Young 
is called upon ; by Washington fashion, the Speaker 
is also called upon, and does not call — there was an 
question whether the distinguished resident and the 
distinguished visitor would meet; Mr. Colfax, as 
was meet under the situation of affairs here, made 
a point upon it, and gave notice he should not call ; 
whereupon President Brigham yielded the question, 
and graciously came to-day with a crowd of high 
dignitaries of the church, and made, not one of 
Emerson's prescribed ten minute calls, but a gen- 
erous, pleasant, gossiping sitting of two hours long. 
He is a very hale and hearty looking man, young 
for sixty-four, with a light gray eye, cold and uncer- 
tain, a mouth and chin betraying a great and deter- 
mined will — handsome perhaps as to presence and 
features, but repellent in atmosphere and without 
magnetism. In conversation, he is cool .and quiet 
in manner, but suggestive in expression ; has strong 
and original ideas, but uses bad grammar. He was 
rather formal, but courteous, and at the last affected 
frankness and freedom, if he felt it not. To his 
followers, I observed he was master of that pro- 
found art of eastern politicians, which consists in 
putting the arm affectionately around them, and 
tenderly inquiring for health of selves and families ; 



87 

and when his eye did sparkle and his lips soften, it 
was with most cheering, though not warming, ef- 
fect — it was pleasant but did not melt you. 

Of his companions, Heber C. Kimball is perhaps 
the most notorious from his vulgar and coarse 
speech. He ranks high among the "prophets" 
here, and is as unctuous in his manner as Macassar 
hair oil, and as pious in phrase as good old Thomas 
a Kempis. He has a very keen, sharp eye, and looks 
like a Westfield man I always meet at the agricul- 
tural fairs in Springfield. Dr. Bernhisel has an air 
of culture and refinement peculiar among his asso- 
ciates ; he is an old, small man, venerable, and sug- 
gestive of John Quincy Adams, or Dr. Gannett of 
Boston, in his style. Two or three others of the 
company have fine faces — such as you would meet 
in intellectual or business society in Boston or New 
York, — but the strength of most of the party seems 
to lie in narrowness, bigptry, obstinacy. They look 
as if they had lived on the same farms as their 
fathers and grandfathers, and made no improve- 
ments ; gone to the same church, and sat in the 
same pew, without cushions ; borrowed the same 
weekly newspaper for forty years; drove all their 
children to the West or the cities ; and if they went 
to agricultural fairs, insisted on having their pre- 
miums in pure coin. 

But the hospitality of Utah is not confined to 
the Mormons. The "Gentiles" or non-Mormons 
are becoming numerous and influential here, and, 
citizens and soldiers, comprise many families of 
culture and influence. They are made up of oflfi- 



88 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

cers of the federal government, resident represen- 
tatives of telegraph and stage lines, members of 
eastern or California business firms having branches 
here, and a very fair proportion, too, of the mer- 
chants of the city. Some of the more intelligent 
of the disgusted and repentant Mormons swell tliQ 
circle. They have organized a literary association, 
established a large and growing Sunday school, 
largely made up of children of Mormon parents, 
have weekly religious services led by the chaplain 
at Camp Douglas, conduct an able and prosperous 
daily paper (the Union Vedette,) and in every way 
are developing an organized and effective opposition 
to the dominant power here. These people, united, 
earnest and enthusiastic as minorities always are, 
claim a share in entertaining Mr. Colfax and his 
friends, and gave them a large and most brilliant 
social party last night. They are not reluctant to 
show us their ladies, as the Mormons generally seem 
to be, and their ladies are such, in beauty and cul- 
ture, as no circle need be ashamed of The enjoy- 
ment of this social entertainment of music, conver- 
sation, dancing and refreshments, was sadly and 
only broken by the announcement during the even- 
ing of the sudden death of the territorial governor, 
Judge Doty, formerly of Michigan and Wisconsin. 



LETTER IX. 

MORMON MATERIALITIES. 



Salt Lake City, June i6. 
The Necessity of all Agriculture, on the Plains, 
among the Mountains, on the Pacific shore, nearly 
all the western half of our Continent, is Irrigation. 
The long, dry summers, frequently months without 
rain, the hot sun and dry winds, the clayey charac- 
ter of the soil, all ensure utter defeat to the farmer's 
business, except he helps his crops to water by arti- 
ficial means. But in Utah, agriculture is the chief 
business ; its population of one hundred and twenty 
thousand inhabitants, live by it, prosper by it, have 
built up a State upon it. Irrigation is, therefore, uni- 
versal and extensive ; the streams that pour down 
from the mountains are tapped at various elevations, 
the water carried away by canals, big and little, to 
the gardens and meadows cultivated, and thence, by 
numerous little courses, one in three or four feet, 
spread over the whole extent, over the grain, be- 
tween the rows of corn, of trees, of vegetables. 
Individuals, villages, companies perform this work, 
as a less or greater scale of it is required. The 
water is apportioned among the takers according to 



90 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

their land or their payments. Each one gets his 
share ; and when the supply is scant, as is often the 
case, each one suffers in like degree. 

Salt Lake City is thus irrigated, mainly from one 
mountain stream; bright, sparkling brooks course 
freely and constantly down its paved gutters, keep- 
ing the shade trees alive and growing, supplying 
drink for animals and water for household purposes, 
and delightfully cooling the summer air ; besides 
being drawn off in right proportion for the use of 
each garden. Once a week is the rule for thus 
watering each crop ; to-day a man takes enough for 
one portion, of his garden ; to-morrow for another ; 
and so through his entire possessions and the week. 
Under this regular stimulus, with a strong soil made 
up of the wash of the mountains, the finest of crops 
are obtained ; the vegetable bottom lands of your 
own Connecticut and of the western prairies cannot 
vie with the products of the best gardens and farms 
of these Pacific valleys, under this system of irriga- 
tion. There needs to be rain enough in the spring 
or winter moisture remaining to start the seeds, 
and there generally is ; after that, the regular sup- 
ply of water keeps the plants in a steady and rapid 
growth, that may well be supposed to produce far 
finer results, than the struggling, uneven progress 
of vegetation under dependence upon the skies — 
a week or a month of rain, and then a like pro- 
longation of sunshine. The gardens m the cities 
and villages are tropical in their rich greenness and 
luxuriance. I do not believe the same space of 
ground anywhere else in the country holds so much 



THE IRRIGATION IN UTAH. 9 1 

and so fine firuit and vegetables as the city of Salt 
Lake to-day. 

The soil of these valleys is especially favorable 
to the small grains. Fifty and sixty bushels is a 
very common crop of wheat, oats and barley ; and 
over ninety have been raised. President Young 
once raised ninety-three and a half bushels of wheat 
on a single acre. I should say the same soil located 
in the East, and taking its chances without irriga- 
tion, would not produce half what it does here with 
irrigation. Laborious and expensive as the process 
must be, the large crops and high prices obtained 
for them make it to pay. Over all this country, 
that is forced to have an irrigated farming, there is 
no business that now pays so well, not even mining, 
and nowhere else in the whole Nation is agriculture 
so profitable. But the mountain snows do not pro- 
vide half the water the valleys need. Many a broad 
and beautiful valley goes unredeemed from a dry, 
half-barren vegetation, for the lack of water to be 
put upon it. Salt Lake City has exhausted its pres- 
ent supply, and now contemplates a grand canal 
from Utah Lake, thirty miles off, to provide water 
for its extending gardens and the wide valley below 
and beyond the city, — the most of which is now only 
a poor and growing poorer pasture, but which with 
irrigation will become as productive farming land as 
lies under the shadow of the Republic. 

The country drained by the Great Salt Lake is 
about one hundred and fifty miles east and west, and 
two hundred and fifty north and south. Four or 
five large streams of fresh water pour into it ; but it 



92 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

has not a single visible outlet, and its water is one- 
fourth solid salt — two mysteries that mock science 
and make imagination ridiculous. Other salt is 
found in the country ; there is a mountain of rock 
salt a few miles away ; and below in Arizona is a 
similar mountain whose salt is as pure as finest 
glass. President Young showed us a brick of it to- 
day, that excited our surprise and delight as much as 
any novelty we have seen on our journey. The Ter- 
ritory of Utah covers the region drained by the Salt 
Lake, and perhaps one hundred miles more both in 
breadth and length. But the Mormon settlements 
extend one hundred miles farther into Idaho on the 
north, and perhaps two hundred miles into Arizona 
on the south, clinging close, through their entire 
length of six hundred to seven hundred miles, to a 
narrow belt of country hardly more than fifty miles 
wide ; for on the east of this are the mountains, and 
to the west, the great Central American Desert, that 
forms part of the great internal basin of this section 
of the Continent, and leads the traveler on to the 
Sierra Nevada mountains of the Pacific States. 

These settlements are mostly small, counting in- 
habitants by hundreds, gathered about the course 
of a mountain stream ; but there are several places 
of considerable importance, as Provo at the South 
and Ogden City at the North. Their extension 
south into the valley of the Colorado, paves the way 
to the successful working of a favorite commercial 
idea of the leading business men here, which is the 
use of the Gulf of California and the Colorado River, 
which empties into it, for the great avenue of trade ; 



THE COLORADO ROUTE FOR COMMERCE. 93 

for bringing in the supplies of goods needed here, 
and for sending out such surplus products, agricul- 
tural and mineral, as these interior valleys are offer- 
ing. The Colorado is found to be navigable for 
steamboats for four hundred miles, or to within six 
hundred miles of this city, and the substitution of 
this reduced distance of land carriage, open all the 
year, through their own Territory, and up valley 
roads, for seven hundred miles to San Francisco or 
over one thousand miles to the Missouri River, 
through deserts and over mountains, and often in- 
terrupted by rivers, is a manifest improvement and 
advantage for the commerce of this country, that 
can hardly be overestimated. There are already 
steamers on the Colorado, and some of the mer- 
chants are having goods come over the route by 
way of experiment. If it succeeds, as seems quite 
certain, then the heavy trade of Utah and its de- 
pendencies will come and go from New York by 
way of the Isthmus of Panama and around Cape 
Horn, and merchants here, instead of having to buy 
a year's supply of goods at once, can market several 
times a year, and do business with much less capi- 
tal and at much greater advantage otherwise. 

The policy of the Mormon leaders has been to 
confine their people to agriculture; to develop a 
self-sustaining, rural population, quiet, frugal, indus- 
trious, scattered in small villages, and so managea- 
ble by the church organization. So far, this policy 
has been admirably successful ; and it has created 
an industry and a production here, in the center of 
the western half of our Continent, of immense im- 



94 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

portance and value to the future growth of the re- 
gion. A few of the simpler manufactures have 
been introduced of late, but these are not in conflict 
with the general policy. There are three cotton 
mills, confined to cotton yarns, however, almost ex- 
clusively, and one woolen mill. Probably there 
are a hundred flouring mills in the Territory also. 
Flour, the grains, butter, bacon, dried peaches, home- 
made socks and yarn, these are the chief articles 
produced in excess and sold to emigrants and for 
the mining regions in the North. Probably two 
hundred thousand pounds of dried peaches were 
sold for Idaho and Montana last year. Hides are 
plenty ; there is a good tannery here ; and also a 
manufactory of boots and shoes. Cotton grows 
abundantly in the southern settlements; and ex- 
periments with flax, the mulberry tree and the silk 
worm are all successful. 

As to mining, the influence of the church has 
been against it. There have been no placer or sur- 
face diggings discovered to ofler temptations to the 
mass of the people ; and the leaders affect to be- 
lieve that the ores so far found are not valuable 
enough to pay for working. They have a reason 
for discouraging mining, of course, in the sure con- 
viction that it would introduce a population and 
influences antagonistic to the order and power of 
the church. Iron, they admit, exists in large quan- 
tities, especially in the southern mountains, and 
they have made some attempts to develop it, but 
without great success, for the reason, as they say, 
that they had not the proper workmen and materials 



THE MINES OF MORMONDOM. 95 

to do it with. But as to gold and silver, they are 
incredulous ; and not only that, but President Young 
argues that the world has many times more of both 
than it needs for financial purposes ; that the coun- 
try is poorer to-day for all the mining of gold and 
silver in the last twenty years ; and that for every 
dollar gained by it, four dollars have been expended. 
But these views are not likely to gain wide acqui- 
escence. There is no reason to doubt that the 
mountains of Utah are rich in the precious metals — 
perhaps not so much so as other States and Territo- 
ries, but still enough so to tempt miners and capital- 
ists to invest in the business of developing them in 
rivalry with Nevada and Colorado. So far, the dis- 
coveries have been chiefly of silver, in connection 
with large deposits of lead and copper. Our party 
have spent two interesting days this week in an ex- 
cursion about forty miles into an adjoining beautiful 
valley, where some valuable developments have been 
made in this line. Most of the discoveries have 
been made by soldiers in General Connor's com- 
mand — volunteers from the mining regions of Cali- 
fornia and Nevada — who have been stationed in 
this vicinity for the last two years ; and most of 
those whose terms have expired have gone to work 
to improve and develop them. We found among 
the various canyons or ravines of the Rush Valley 
a hundred or two of mines freshly discovered and 
worked out to various depths of ten to one hundred 
feet. Colonel George, who, in the absence of Gen- 
eral Connor to fight the Indians, is in command of 
the camp here, accompanied us, and saw the lodes 



96 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

for the first time. He is an old Nevada miner, and 
he says these promise much better — fifty per cent, 
better — than the famous silver mines of that young 
State. There, fifty to one hundred dollars of silver 
from a ton of ore is considered highly profitable and 
satisfactory ; here, the surface ore assays from one 
hundred to five hundred dollars a ton, and in sev- 
eral cases lodes have been opened that assay from 
one thousand to four thousand dollars to the ton. 
The last figure is obtained from one just opened 
and named the New York lead. The farther the 
mines are worked, the richer grows the ore. The 
Mormons say they will soon work out ; but the 
miners have faith, and are working away with all 
the capital and labor they can command. At pres- 
ent, the ore is easily worked, and does not demand 
expensive machinery like stamp mills and steam or 
water power. Smelting furnaces are the chief ne- 
cessity to reduce the ore to its elements, and sepa- 
rate the metal from the dross. As the mines are 
further worked, the ore will probably grow harder, 
and require more elaborate processes. 

General Connor, who is an old Californian, has 
large faith in these prospectings, has taken much 
interest in their development, and has located and 
is building up a town, called Stockton, near them, 
in the Rush Valley. Here we found a population 
of perhaps two hundred, all "Gentiles," many of 
them old soldiers, and all full of faith and zeal in 
their new enterprise. Major Gallagher, formerly of 
General Connor's California regiment, is living here 
as the general's agent, and as farmer and miner on 



THE PROMISE OF UTAH. 9/ 

his own responsibility. We spent the night at the 
"government reserves," two miles beyond Stockton, 
by the shore of Rush Lake ; these reserves being 
valuable lands selected some years ago by Colonel 
Steptoe, as likely to be needed for government uses, 
and now thus appropriated for supplies of wood for 
the camp in town and to pasture surplus horses. 
Here we met a rough but generous hospitality, a 
midnight supper, a roaring open fire, and beds on the 
floor and in the stable-yards ; but we slept soundly, 
ate heartily, and gathered sweetest of flowers amid 
a snow-storm on the hill-sides the next day, as we 
wandered about in search of the silver lodes. 

In the more remote parts of the Territory, other 
silver mines have been discovered, and are being 
worked with success. Their distance from markets, 
the necessity of more or less machinery for their 
profitable operation, and the lack of capital among 
those who have discovered the lodes, are obstacles 
to their rapid development; but judging from all I 
can see and learn, there is no good reason to doubt 
their great value, and sufficient cause to regard 
them as offering one of the best fields for wisely 
investing capital and labor in all the mining regions, 
and to predict ere long such an interest and excite- 
ment in regard to them, as will give Utah a new 
population and rapid growth, and place her among 
the first of the mining States. The antecedent, 
achieved development of her agricultural capacities, 
her settled populatiou and her gathered and organ- 
ized civilization will then prove of a great advan- 
tage, and be properly appreciated. 



LETTER X. 

SALT LAKE CITY AND LIFE THERE. 



Salt Lake City, Saturday, June 17. 

In the "great and glorious future" of our Fourth 
of July orations, when polygamy is extinct, the Pa- 
cific Railroad built, and the mines developed, Salt 
Lake City will be not only the chief commercial 
city of the mountains, the equal of St. Louis and 
Chicago, but one of the most beautiful residence 
cities and most attractive watering-places on the 
Continent. Its admirable location and early de- 
velopment secure the one ; its agreeable climate for 
eight months in the year, at least, and the surpass- 
ing beauty of its location, with its ample supply of 
water, its fruits and vegetables, will add the second ; 
and joining to all these circumstances, its snow- 
capped mountains, its hot sulphur springs, and its 
Great Salt Lake, and we have the elements of the 
third fact. There are two principal sulphur springs, 
one hot enough (one hundred and twenty degrees) 
to boil an egg, which is four miles from the center 
of the city, and the other just the right temperature 
for a hot bath, (ninety degrees,) which is close to 
the city, and is already brought into a large enclos- 



SALT LAKE CITY AS A WATERING-PLACE. 99 

ure for free bathing purposes. Both these streams 
are large enough for illimitable bathing ; the water 
is as highly sulphurized and as clear as that of the 
celebrated Sharon Springs ; and its use, either for 
drinking or for baths, most effective in purifying the 
blood and toning up the. system. Other and smaller 
springs of the same character have been found in 
the neighborhood. 

Then the Lake opens another field of attractions ; 
it is a miniature ocean, about fifteen miles from the 
city, fifty miles wide by one hundred long, — the 
briniest sheet of water known on the Continent, — 
so salt that no fish can live in it, and that three 
quarts of it will boil down to one quart of fine, pure 
salt, — but most delicious and refreshing for bathing, 
floating the body as a cork on the surface, — only 
the brine must be kept from mouth and eyes under 
the penalty of a severe smarting ;— with its high 
rocky islands and crestfull waves and its superb 
sunsets, picturesque and enchanting to look upon ; 
while its broad expanse offers wide space for sailing, 
and every chance for sea-sickness. Count up all 
these features for a watering-place ; and where will 
you find a Newport, a Saratoga or a Sharon that 
has the half of them ? So, ye votaries of fashion, 
ye rheumatic cripples, ye victims of scrofula and 
ennui, prepare to pack your trunks at the sound of 
the first whistle of the train for the Rocky Moun- 
tains, for a season at Salt Lake City. 

The city is regularly laid out into squares of ten 
acres each, and these into lots of one acre and a 
quarter, only farther subdivided in the business or 



100 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

more thickly populated streets. The building ma- 
terial is mostly sun-dried bricks, (called adobe,) 
covered with plaster, and the houses are generally 
of one story, covering much space and with as 
many front doors as the owner has wives. A few 
of the newer stores are built of stone, and are ele- 
gant and capacious within and without. Brigham 
Ycang's establishment occupies a full square, and 
embraces several dwellings, a school house for his 
forty or fifty children, extensive stables, a grist mill, 
a carpenter's shop, and the "tithing" office. An 
opposite square is devoted to church purposes ; and 
here is the old Tabernacle, a new and larger one 
partly done, and the foundations of the great Tem- 
ple, which, if ever completed, according to the de- 
sign, will be the finest church edifice in America 
Nothing is doing upon it now. Within the same 
enclosure is the "Bowery," an immense thatch of 
green boughs, covering space for an audience ol 
several thousands. Here the general Sunday ser- 
vices are held during the warm weather. Both 
these squares. President Young s and the church 
grounds, are enclosed by solid walls of mud and 
stones, twelve feet high, and walls of a like charac- 
ter are even used for fences about many of the resi- 
dences. 

There are very large mercantile interests here. 
Several firms do a business of a million dollars or 
more each, a year, and keep on hand stocks of goods 
of the value of a quarter of a million. They fre- 
quently have subsidiary stores in other parts of the 
Territory to the number of four or six. Their 



BUSINESS AND PRICES IN UTAH. lOI 

freights are enormous, and sometimes their goods 
are a year on the way hither. One firm has just 
received a stock of goods, costing one hundred 
thousand dollars, that was bought in New York last 
June. It got caught on the Plains by early snow, 
last fall, and had to winter on the way. Another 
leading merchant paid one hundred and fifty thou- 
sand dollars for freights last year. One lot of 
goods, groceries, hardware, dry goods, everything, 
was found to have cost, on reaching here, just one 
dollar a pound, adding to original purchase the cost 
of freighting, which from New York to this point 
averages from twenty-five to thirty cents a pound. 
It of course requires large capital and courage to 
enter upon the mercantile business here under such 
circumstances. Prices, too, must rule high; and 
when the supply is short, as it was last year, and 
the demand large, great profits are realized; and 
again, with an overstocked market and a small sale, 
there* is danger of heavy losses. . One concern 
made seventy-five per cent, profit last year, but this 
season promises poorly; and the stocks on hand 
cannot, in many cases, be sold for their cost. I 
give the ruling rates for some of the leading arti- 
cles, both of native production and imported : beef 
twelve to twenty cents, mutton twenty to twenty- 
five cents, pork fifty cents, bacon seventy-five cents, 
hams one dollar, wood eighteen dollars per cord, 
lumber one hundred dollars per thousand, butter 
fifty cents, sugar seventy-five to eighty-five cents, 
coft'ee one dollar to one dollar and ten cents, green 
tea (almost universal on the Plains and in the moun- 



102 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

tains) three and a half to five dollars, tobacco two 
to two dollars and a half, axes four dollars and a half, 
heavy brown sheetings eighty-five to ninety cents, 
fine seventy-five to ninety cents, prints twenty-five 
to forty cents, dried apples sixty cents, dried peaches 
iifty cents, molasses three to three dollars and a 
half, gunpowder two dollars, day labor three dol- 
lars, mechanics three to five dollars, clerks twelve 
hundred to three thousand dollars a year. The 
only coal mines yet developed in the Territory lie 
forty miles over the mountains east, on our road 
hither, and it costs twenty-five to thirty dollars a 
ton to transport it to the city, so that the price for 
it is thirty-five to forty dollars. It is a bituminous 
coal, and of very fair quality. 

Your readers would mistake if they supposed 
that these prices enforced any poverty in living 
among these people. There are not many abso- 
lutely poor ; and the general scale of living is gen- 
erous. In the early years of the Territory, there 
was terrible suffering for the want of food ; many 
were reduced to the roots of the field for sustenance ; 
but now there appears to be an abundance of the 
substantial necessaries of life, and as most of the 
population are cultivators of the soil, all or nearly all 
have plenty of food. And certainly, I have never 
seen more generously laden tables than have been 
spread before us at our hotel or at private houses. 
A dinner to our party this evening by a leading 
Mormon merchant, at which President Young and 
the principal members of his council were present, 
had as rich a variety of fish, meats, vegetables, 



BRIGHAM YOUNGS THEATER. IO3. 

pastry and fruit, as I ever saw on any private table 
in the East ; and the quaUty and the cooking and 
the serving were unimpeachable. All the food, too, 
was native in Utah. The wives of our host waited 
on us most amicably, and the entertainment was, 
in every way, the best illustration of the practical 
benefits of plurality, that has yet been presented 
to us. 

Later in the evening we were introduced to an- 
other, and perhaps the most wonderful, illustration 
of the reach of social and artificial life in this far 
off city of the Rocky Mountains. This was the 
Theater, in which a special performance was impro- 
vised in honor of Speaker Colfax. The building is 
itself a rare triumph of art and enterprise. No east- 
ern city of one hundred thousand inhabitants, — re- 
member Salt Lake City has less than twenty thou- 
sand, — possesses so fine a theatrical structure. It 
ranks, alike in capacity and elegance of structure 
and finish, along with the opera-houses and acade- 
mies of music of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, 
Chicago and Cincinnati. In costumes and scenery, 
it is furnished with equal richness and variety, and 
the performances themselves, though by amateurs, 
by merchants and mechanics, by wives and daugh- 
ters of citizens, would have done full credit to a first- 
class professional company. There was first a fine 
and elaborate drama, and then a spectacular farce, 
in both which were introduced some exquisite dan- 
cing, and in one some good singing also. I have 
rarely seen a theatrical entertainment more pleasing 
and satisfactory in all its details and appointments. 



104 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Yet the two principal male characters were by a 
day-laborer and a carpenter; one of the leading 
lady parts was by a married daughter of Brigham 
Young, herself the mother of several children ; and 
several other of his daughters took part in the bal- 
let, which was most enchantingly rendered, and with 
great scenic effect. The house was full in all its 
parts, and the audience embraced all classes of so- 
ciety, from the wives and daughters of President 
Young, — a goodly array, — and the families of the 
rich merchants, to the families of the mechanics 
and farmers of the city and valley, and the soldiers 
from the camp. President Young built and owns 
the theater, and conducts it on his private account, 
or on that of the church, as he does many other of 
the valuable and profitable institutions of the Ter- 
ritory, such as cotton, saw and flour mills, the best 
farms, etc. ; and, as he is at no expense for actors 
or actresses, and gets good prices for admission, he 
undoubtedly makes a ''good thing" out of it. Dur- 
ing the winter season, performances are given twice 
a week ; and the theater proves a most useful and 
popular social center and entertainment for the 
whole people. Its creation was a wise and benefi- 
cent thought. 



LETTER XI. 

THE POLYGAMY QUESTION. 



Salt Lake City, June iS. 
Our visit here closes in the morning. It has 
been very interesting, instructive and gratifying to 
us. We have had unusual opportunities for learn- 
ing the opinions of the Mormons, for studying their 
institutions, for measuring their culture and capac- 
ity, for observing their social, material and religious 
development, and for informing ourselves as to the 
conflict fast growing up between, them and the non- 
Mormons who are rapidly accumulating in the com- 
munity. The leaders in the church and in society 
have been generous and constant in their hospi- 
tality, and frank in their conversation, partly, I will 
not doubt, from a hearty, human good feeling, and 
partly, no doubt, also, from anxiety as to the future 
policy of the government towards them and their 
institutions, and eagerness to propitiate political and 
public opinion in their favor. We have attended 
the services at the Mormon Tabernacle on two suc- 
cessive Sabbaths, on one of which Brigham Young 
himself preached in exposition and defense of the 
doctrines of his church. Mr. Colfax and his friends 
5* 



I06 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

have also had two long interviews with Brigham 
Young and the other leaders of the church, in one 
of which the peculiar institution of the people was 
freely and frankly but most earnestly discussed by 
all. The testimony and opinions of the " Gentiles," 
and of intelligent citizens, men and women, who, 
once Mormons, have now left the church, have been 
freely offered to us, and gladly heard. Valuable 
facts and opinions have also been gathered from old 
and intelligent citizens, who have held a sort of in- 
dependent and neutral position, who are neither 
polygamists in theory or practice, nor members of 
the church, but who, either from motives of policy 
or qualities of temperament, have taken no part 
with the pronounced and denouncing "Gentiles." 
Nor have the opinions and feelings of women in 
polygamy been wholly denied to us ; though we 
have not been offered their society by their hus- 
bands with any particular generosity ; — this, indeed, 
being the only feature of their hospitality that has 
been measured and chary. 

The result of the whole experience has been to 
increase my appreciation of the value of their ma- 
terial progress and development to the nation ; to 
evoke congratulations to them and to the country 
for the wealth they have created and the order, fru- 
gality, morality and industry that have been organ- 
ized in this remote spot in our Continent ; to excite 
wonder at the perfection and power of their church 
system, the extent of its ramifications, the sweep 
of its influence ; and to enlarge my respect for the 
personal sincerity and character of many of the 



MORMONISM NOT POLYGAMY. lO/ 

leaders in the organization ; — also, and on the other 
hand, to deepen my disgust at their polygamy, and 
strengthen my convictions of its barbaric and de- 
grading influences. They have tried it and prac- 
tised it under the most favorable circumstances, 
perhaps under the mildest form possible ; but, now 
as before, here as elsewhere, it tends to and means 
only the degradation of woman. By it and under 
it, she becomes simply the servant and serf, not the 
companion and equal of man ; and the inevitable 
influence of this upon all society need not be de- 
picted. 

But I find that Mormonism is not necessarily 
polygamy ; that the one began and existed for 
many years without the other; that not all the 
Mormons accept the doctrine, and not one-fourth, 
perhaps not one-eighth practise it ; and that the 
Nation and its government may oppose it and pun- 
ish it, without at all interfering with the existence 
of the Mormon church, or justly being held as in- 
terfering with the religious liberty that is. the basis 
of all our institutions. This distinction has not 
been sufficiently understood heretofore, and it has 
not been consistently acted upon by either the gov- 
ernment or the public of the East. Here, by the 
people, who are coming in to enjoy the opportuni- 
ties of the country for trade and mining, and there, 
by our rulers at Washington and by the great pub- 
lic, this single issue of polygam.y should be pressed 
home upon the Mormon church, — discreetly and 
with tact, with law and with argument and appeal, 
but with firmness and power. 



I08 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Ultimately, of course, before the influences of 
emigration, civilization and our democratic habits, 
an organization so aristocratic and autocratic as the 
Mormon church now is must modify its rule; it 
must compete with other sects, and take its chance 
with them. And its most aristocratic and uncivil- 
ized incident or feature of plurality of wives must 
fall first and completely before contact with the 
rest of the world, — marshalled with mails, daily 
papers, railroads and telegraphs, — ciphering out the 
fact that the men and women of the world are about 
equally, divided, and applying to the Mormon patri- 
archs the democratic principle of equal and exact 
justice. Nothing can save this feature of Mor- 
monism but new flight and a more complete isola- 
tion. A kingdom in the sea, entirely its own, could 
only perpetuate it ; and thither even, commerce and 
democracy would ultimately follow it. The click of 
the telegraph and the roll of the overland stages 
are its death-rattle now; the first whistle of the 
locomotive will sound its requiem ; and the pick- 
ax of the miner will dig its grave. Squatter sov- 
ereignty will speedily settle the question, even if 
the government continues to coquette with it and 
humor it, as it has done. 

But the government should no longer hold a 
doubtful or divided position toward this great crime 
of the Mormon church. Declaring clearly both its 
want of power and disinclination to interfere at all 
with the church organization as such, or witli the lat- 
ter's influence over its followers, assuring and guar- 
anteeing to it all the liberty and freedom that other 



DUTY OF THE GOVERNMENT. IO9 

religious sects hold and enjoy, the government 
should still, as clearly and distinctly, declare, by all 
its action and all its representatives here, that this 
feature of polygamy, not properly or necessarily a 
part of the religion of the Mormons, is a crime by 
the common law of all civilization and by the stat- 
ute law of the Nation, and that any cases of its ex- 
tension v/ill be prosecuted and punished as such. 
Now half or two-thirds the federal officers in the 
Territory are polygamists ; and others bear no tes- 
timony against it. These should give way to men 
who, otherwise equally Mormons it may be, still are 
neither polygamists nor believers in the practice 
of polygamy. 'No employes or contractors of the 
government should be polygamists in theory or 
practice. 

Here the government should take its stand, 
calmly, quietly, but firmly, giving its moral sup- 
port and countenance, and its physical support, il 
necessary for fair play, to the large class of Mor- 
mons who are not polygamists, to missionaries and 
preachers of all other sects, who choose to come 
here, and erect their standards and invite followers ; 
and to that growing pubHc opinion, here and else- 
where, which is accumulating its inexorable force 
against an 'institution which has not inaptly been 
termed a twin barbarism with slavery. There is no 
need and no danger of physical conflict growing 
up ; only a hot and unwise zeal and impatience on 
the part of thexgovernment representatives, and in 
the command of the troops stationed here, could 
precipitate that. The probability is, that, upon such- 



no ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

a demonstration by the government, as I have sug- 
gested, the leaders of the church would receive new 
light on the subject themselves, — perhaps have a 
fresh revelation, and abandon the objectionable fea- 
ture in their polity. No matter if they did not, — 
it would soon, under the influences now rapidly ag- 
gregating, and thus reinforced by the government, 
abandon them. 

In this way, all violent conflict would, I believe, 
be successfully avoided ; and all this valuable popu- 
lation and its industries and wealth may be retained 
in place and to the Nation, without waste. Let 
them continue to be Mormons, if they choose, so 
long as they are not polygamists. They may be 
ignorant and fanatical, and imposed upon and swin- 
dled even, by their church leaders; but they are 
industrious, thriving, and more comfortable than, 
on an average, they have ever been before in the 
homes from which they came hither ; and there is 
no law against fanaticism and bigotry and religious 
charlatanry. All these evils of religious benight- 
ment are not original in Utah, and they will work 
out their own cure here, as. they have done else- 
where in our land. We must have patience with 
the present, and possibly forgiveness for supposed 
crimes in the past by the leaders, because we have 
heretofore failed to meet the issues promptly and 
clearly, and have shared by our consent and protec- 
tion to their authors in the alleged wrongs. 

The conversation I have alluded to with Brigham 
Young and some of his elders, on this subject of 
polygamy, was introduced by his inquiring of Mr. 



DISCUSSION WITH BRIGHAM YOUNG. Ill 

Colfax what the government and people of the East 
proposed to do with it and them, now that they had 
got rid of the slavery question. The Speaker replied 
that he had no authority to speak for the govern- 
ment ; but for himself, if he might be permitted to 
make the suggestion, he had hoped the prophets 
of the church would have a new revelation on the 
subject, which should put a stop to the practice. 
He added further that, as the people of Missouri 
and Maryland, without waiting lor the action of the 
general government against slavery, themselves be- 
lieving it to be wrong and an impedim.ent to their 
prosperity, had taken measures to abolish it, so he 
hoped the people of the Mormon church would see 
that pol3^gamy was a hindrance and not a help, and 
move for its abandonment. Mr. Young responded 
quickly and frankly that he should readily welcome 
such a revelation; that polygamy was not in the 
original book of the Mormons; that it was not an 
essential practice in the church, but only a privilege 
and a duty, imder special command of God ; that he 
knew it had been abused ; that people had entered 
into polygamy who ought not to have done so, and 
against his protestation and advice. At the same 
time, he defended the practice as having biblical au- 
thority, and as having, within proper limits, a sound, 
moral and philosophical reason and propriety. 

The discussion, thus opened, grew general and 
sharp, though ever good-natured. Mr. Young was 
asked how he got over the fact that the two sexes 
were about equally divided all over the world, and 
that, if some men had two, five, or twenty wives, 



112 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Others would have to go without altogether. His 
reply was that there was always a considerable pro- 
portion of the men who would never marry, who 
were old bachelors from choice. But, retorted one, 
are there any more of such than of women who 
choose to be old maids.? Oh yes, said he, most 
ungallantly; there is not one woman in a million 
who will not marry if she gets a chance ! One of 
the saints, who was pressing the biblical usage and 
authority for many wives as above all laws and con- 
stitutions, was asked as to the effect of the same 
usage and authority for human sacrifice, — would 
you, he was asked, if commanded by God, offer up 
your son or your enemy as a sacrifice, killing them ? 
Yes, he promptly replied. Then the civil law would 
lay its hands upon you and stop you, and would be 
justified in doing so, was the apparently effective 
answer. 

In the course of the discussion, Mr. Young asked, 
suppose polygamy is given up, will not your govern- 
ment then demand more, — will it not war upon the 
Book of the Mormons, and attack our church organ- 
ization.? The reply was emphatically No, that it 
had no right, and could have no justification to do 
so, and that we had no idea there would be any dis- 
position in that direction. 

The talk, which was said to be the freest and 
frankest ever known on that subject in that pres- 
ence, ended pleasantly, but with the full expression, 
on the part of Mr. Colfax and his friends, of their 
hope that the polygamy question might be removed 
from existence, and thus all objection to the admis- 



BRIGHAM YOUNG ON THE REBELS. II3 

sion of Utah as a State be taken away; but that, 
until it was, no such admission was possible, and 
that the government could not continue to look in- 
differently upon the enlargement of so offensive a 
practice. And not only what Mr. Young said, but 
his whole manner left with us the impression that, 
if public opinion and the government united vigor- 
ously, but at the same time discreetly, to press the 
question, there would be found some way to acqui- 
esce in the demand, and change the practice of the 
present fathers of the church. 

The conversation was continued on the subjects 
of punishing the leading rebels, and of slavery in the 
abstract. Mr. Young favored slavery /^r se as estab- 
lished by Divine authority, but denounced the chat- 
tel system of the South ; and he opposed the hang- 
ing of any of the rebel chiefs as dn unwise and 
aggravating policy. Now that peace is established, 
let all be pardoned, he said ; but early in or during 
the war, he would have disposed of the rebel chiefs 
that fell into the hands of the government with- 
out mercy or hesitation. Had he been President 
when Mason and Slidell were captured, he would 
have speedily put them "where they never would 
peep," and negotiated with England afterwards. 
He uttered this sentiment with such a wicked 
working of the lower jaw and lip, and such an 
almost demon-like spirit in his whole face, that, 
quite disposed to be incredulous on those matters, 
I could not help thinking of the Mountain Meadow 
massacre of recusant Mormons, of Danites and 
Avenging Angels, and their reported achievements. 



LETTER XII. 

THE MORMON WIVES: OUR LAST DAY IN SALT 
LAKE CITY. 



Salt Lake City, June i8. 
How do the Mormon women like and bear po- 
lygamy ? is the question most people ask as to the 
institution. The universal testimony of all but 
their husbands is, that it is a grievous sorrow and 
burden ; only cheerfully submitted to and embraced 
under a religious fanaticism and self-abnegation 
rare to behold, and possible only to women. They 
are taught to believe, and many of them really do 
believe, that through and by it they secure a higher 
and more glorious reward in the future world. 
" Lord Jesus has laid a heavy trial upon me," said 
one poor, sweet woman, *'but I mean to bear it for 
His sake, and for the glory He will grant me in His 
kingdom." This is the common wail, the common 
solace. Such are the teachings of the church ; and 
I have no doubt both husbands and wives alike 
often honestly accept this view of the odious prac- 
tice, and seek and submit to polygamy as really 
God's holy service, calculated to make saints of 
themselves and all associated with them in the fu- 
ture world. 



POLYGAMY AND WOMAN. II5 

Still a good deal of human nature is visible, both 
among the men in embracing polygamy, and in 
their wives in submitting to it. Mr. Young's testi- 
mony on this point is significant. Other signs are 
not wanting in the looks and character of the men 
most often anointed in the holy bonds of matri- 
mony, and in the well-known disagreement of the 
wives in many families. In some cases they live 
harmoniously and lovingly together ; oftener, it 
would seem, they have separate parts of the same 
house, or even separate houses. The first wife 
is generally the recognized one of society, and fre- 
quently assumes contempt for the others, regarding 
them as concubines, and not wives. But it is a 
dreadful state of society to any one of fine feelings 
and true instincts ; it robs married life of all its 
sweet sentiment and companionship ; and while it 
degrades woman, it brutalizes man, teaching him 
to despise and domineer over his wives, over all 
women. It breeds jealousy, distrust, and tempts to 
infidelity ; but the police system of the church and 
the community is so strict and constant that it is 
claimed and believed the latter vice is very'rare. 

The effect upon the children cannot help being 
debasing, however well they may be guarded and 
educated. But it is a chief failing, even a scandal 
to the Mormons, that, plentifully as they are pro- 
viding children, who swarm everywhere as did the 
locusts in Egypt, they have organized no free 
school system. Schools are held in every ward of 
the city, and probably in every considerable village, 
in buildings provided for evening religious meet- 



Il6 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

ings under the direction of the local bishops, but a 
tuition fee is exacted for all who attend, and the 
poor are practically shut out. The anti-polygamists 
should agitate at once and earnestly to reform this 
evil, — it is a strong point against the dominant 
party, and a weak point in the welfare of the Terri- 
tory. It is a good and encouraging sign to learn 
from intelligent sources that, as the young girls, 
daughters of Mormons, grow up to womanhood, 
they are indisposed to polygamy, and seek husbands 
among the " Gentiles " rather than among their own 
faith. 

The soldiers at Camp Douglas, near this city, are 
illustrating one of the ways in which polygamy will 
fade away before the popular principle. Two com- 
panies, who went home to California last fall, took 
about twenty-five wives with them, recruited from 
the Mormon flocks. There are now some fifty or 
more women in the camp, who have fled thither 
from town for protection, or been seduced away 
from unhappy homes and fractional husbands ; and 
all or nearly all find new husbands among the sol- 
diers. * Only to-day a man with three daughters, 
living in the city, applied to Colonel George fof 
leave to move up to the camp for a residence, in 
order, as he said, to save his children from polyg- 
amy, into which the bishops and elders of the 
church were urging them. The camp authorities 
tell many like stories ; also of sadder applications, 
if possible, for relief from actual poverty and from 
persecution in town. The Mormons have no poor- 
house, and say they have no poor, permitting none 



SERVICES AT THE TABERNACLE. 11/ 

by relieving all through work or gifts. But the last 
winter was so long and so severe, with wood at 
thirty and forty dollars a cord, that there was much 
real suffering, and the soldiers yielded to extensive 
demands upon their charity, that the church author- 
ities had neglected to fulfill, or absolutely denied. 

Your readers are aware, I suppose, that a large 
proportion, perhaps the majority, of the people of 
Utah are foreigners, — recruits by missionaries sent 
out over the whole world. The larger proportion 
are English, from the factory towns of Great Brit- 
ain. But Germans, Swedes, Finns, Scotch, Ice- 
landers, and even East Indians, are here. Mr. 
Young boasts that fifty different nationalities are 
represented among his people. The bulk of them 
all are of the peasantry, the lower classes of work- 
ing people at home ; and so the congregations of 
the Mormons do not exhibit the marks of high 
acuteness and intelligence. The audiences at the 
Tabernacle to-day and last Sunday, and at the the- 
ater last night, were what would be called common- 
looking people. The handsome girls were few ; the 
fine-looking women even fewer ; intelligent, strong- 
headed men were more numerous ; but the great 
mass, both in size, looks and dress, was below the 
poorest, hardest-working and most ignorant classes 
of our eastern large towns. 

The gatherings and the services, both in speak- 
ing and singing, reminded me of the Methodist 
camp-meetings of fifteen or twenty years ago. The 
singing, as on the latter occasions, was the best 
part of the exercises, simple, sweet, and fervent. 



Il8 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

*' Daughters of Zion," as sung by the large choir 
last Sunday, was prayer, sermon, song and all. 
The preaching last Sabbath was by Mr. Samuel W. 
Richards, who was of Massachusetts origin, but a 
Mormon leader and missionary for many years. 
Beyond setting forth the superiority of the Mor- 
mon church system, through its presidents, coun- 
cils, bishops, elders and seventies, for the work 
made incumbent upon Christians, and claiming 
that its preachers were inspired like those of old, 
his discourse was a rambling, unimpressive exhorta- 
tion, such as you may hear from a tonguey deacon 
in any country Baptist or Methodist meeting-house. 
The Bible, both old and new testament, is used 
with the same authority as by all Protestants ; the 
Mormon scriptures are simply new and added 
books, confirming and supplementing the teach- 
ings of the original Scriptures. The rite of the 
sacrament is administered every Sunday, water 
being used instead of wine, and the distribution 
proceeding among the whole congregation, men, 
women and children, and numbering from three to 
five thousand, while the singing and the preaching 
are in progress. The prayers are few and simple, 
undistinguishable, except in these characteristics, 
from those heard in all Protestant churches, and the 
congregation all join in the Amen. 

Brigham Young's preaching to-day was a very 
unsatisfactory, disappointing performance. There 
was every incentive to him to do his best ; he had 
an immense audience spread out under the "bow- 
ery" to the number of five or six thousand; before 



BRIGHAM YOUNGS PREACHING. II9 

him was Mr. Colfax, who had asked him to preach 
upon the distinctive Mormon doctrines; around 
him were all his elders and bishops, in unusual 
numbers ; and he was fresh from the exciting dis- 
cussion of yesterday on the subject of polygamy. 
But his address lacked logic, lacked effect, lacked 
wholly magnetism or impressiveness. It was a curi- 
ous medley of scriptural exposition and exhortation, 
bold and bare statement, coarse denunciation and 
vulgar allusion, cheap rant and poor cant. So far as 
his statement of Mormon belief went, it amounted 
to this : that God was a human, material person, 
with like flesh ai;id blood and passions to ourselves, 
only perfect in all things ; that he begot his son 
Jesus in the same way that children are begotten 
now; that Jesus and the father looked alike and 
were alike, distinguishable only by the former being 
older ; that our resurrection would be material, and 
we should live in heaven with the same bodies and 
the same passions as on earth; that Mormonism 
was the most perfect and true religion ; that those 
Christians who were not Mormons would not nec- 
essarily go to hell and be burned by living fire and 
tortured by ugly devils, but that they would not 
occupy so high places in heaven as the Latter Day 
Saints ; that polygamy was the habit of all the 
children of God in the earlier ages, and was first 
abolished by the Goths and Vandals who conquered 
and constructed Rome; that Martin Luther ap- 
proved of it in a single case at least ; that a clergy- 
man of the church of England once married a man 
to a second wife while his first wife was living ; and 



120 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

that in England now, if a man wanted to change 
his wife, he had only to offer her at auction and 
knock her off for a pot of bee*' or a shilhng, and 
marry another. (This last statement called out a 
voice of dissent from an English working-face in 
the audience.) A good deal of boasting of the 
success of the Mormons, their temperance, frugal- 
ity and honesty, and a sharp denunciation of the 
"few stinking lawyers who lived down in whiskey 
street, and for five dollars would attempt to make a 
lie into a truth," were the only other noticeable fea- 
tures of this discourse of the president of the 
church of the Latter Day Saints. It was a very 
material interpretation of the statements and truths 
of scripture, very illogically and roughly rendered ; 
and calculated only to influence a cheap and vulgar 
audience. Brigham Young may be a shrewd busi- 
ness man, an able organizer of labor, a bold, brave 
person in dealing with the practicalities of life, — he 
must, indeed, be all of these, for we see the eviden- 
ces all around this city and country ; but he is in 
no sense an impressive or effective preacher, judged 
by any standards that I have been accustomed to. 

His audience, swollen one or two thousand more, 
could not have helped drawing a sharp contrast, — 
dull in comprehension and fanatically devoted to 
him as most of them probably are, — between his 
speech and his style, and those of Mr. Colfax, who, 
at a later hour this evening, delivered in the same 
place, by invitation of the church and city authori- 
ties, his Chicago Eulogy on the Life and Principles 
of President Lincoln. He spoke it without notes, 



ELECTIONS IN UTAH, 121 

and with much freedom and fervor to an audience 
unused to so effective and eloquent a style, and 
more unused, we fear, to such sentiments ; and he 
received rapt attention and apparently delighted 
approval throughout the whole. Mr. Colfax's other 
and informal speeches here, and his whole inter- 
course with the authorities and people of all parties, 
considerate always, but frank and ever consistent 
with his principles, had won him the respect of all 
and the affection of many ; but the pronouncing of 
this eulogy has increased the feeling in his favor to 
a high enthusiasm. 

The election for territorial delegate to Congress 
from Utah occurs in August. Judge Kinney, who 
was sent here as judge by President Buchanan, and 
becoming agreeable to the Mormon leaders, was 
sent to Congress by them when superseded in his 
judgeship by Mr. Lincoln, has recently come back 
from Washington, and seeks re-election. But it is 
doubtful if Mr. Young decides to have him go again. 
He has indicated a purpose of returning Captain 
Hooper, an old and prosperous merchant here, who 
served the term before Judge Kinney, and who has 
lately sold out his business here, in order to go on a 
mission for the church to England.* He was popu- 
lar and useful in Congress before, is an intelligent, 
able man, and though a Mormon of many years* 
standing, has the principle and good sense to be 
content with one most excellent wife. These and 
other selections for office are of course nominally 
made by the people voting as in other States and 

* Mr. Hooper has since been chosen to Congress, 
6 



122 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Territories ; but the real choice is made beforehand 
by the church authorities, and the vote is usually 
quite small. Only one case is known of the bish- 
op's ticket ever having been defeated. This was 
at a small country village in the choice for mayor ; 
but the fact was not suffered to go abroad, — it was 
too dangerous an example. 

But adieu to Salt Lake and many-wive-and-much- 
children-dom ; to its strawberries and roses ; its 
rare hospitality ; its white crowned peaks, its wide- 
spread valley, its river of scriptural name, its lake 
of briniest taste. I have met much to admire, 
many to respect, worshiped deep before its Na- 
ture, — found only one thing to condemn. I shall 
want to come again when the railroad can bring 
me, and that blot is gone. 



LETTER XIII. 

SOCIAL LIFE AMONG THE MORMONS. 



Austin, Nevada, June 22. 

I GO back to the Mormons, to add some facts and 
gossip, because their civilization is so remarkable, 
and because they and their institutions are about 
to come into new and final conflict with the people 
and the government of the country. Polygamy in- 
troduces many curious cross-relationships, and in- 
tertwines the branches of the genealogical tree in 
a manner greatly to puzzle a mathematician, as well 
as to disgust the decent-minded. The marrying of 
two or more sisters is very common ; one young 
Mormon merchant in Salt Lake City has three 
sisters for his three wives. There are several cases 
of men marrying both mother (widow) and her 
daughter or daughters; taking the "old woman" 
for the sake of getting the young ones ; but having 
children by all. Please to cipher out for yourselves 
how this mixes things. More disgusting associa- 
tions are known, — even to the marrying of a half- 
sister by one Mormon. Consider, too, how these 
children of one father and many mothers, — the latter 
often blood relations, — are likely to become crossed 



124 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

again in new marriages, in the second or third, if 
not the first, generations, under the operation of this 
polygamous practice ; and it is safe to predict that a 
few generations of such social practices will breed 
a physical, moral and mental debasement of the 
people most frightful to contemplate. Already, in- 
deed, are such indications apparent, foreshadowing 
the sure and terrible realization. 

Brigham Young's wives are numberless ; at least 
no one seems to know how many he has ; and he 
has himself confessed to forgetfulness in the mat- 
ter. The probability is he has from sixteen to 
twenty genuine or complete wives, and about as 
many more women "sealed" to him for heavenly 
association and glory. The latter are mostly pious 
old ladies, eager for high seats in the Mormon 
heaven, and knowing no surer way to get there 
than to be joined on to Brigham's angelic proces- 
sion. Some of these sealed wives of his are the 
earthly wives of other men ; but, lacking faith in 
their husbands' heavenly glory, seek to make a sure 
thing of it for the future by the grace of gracious 
Brigham. Down East, you know, many a husband 
calculates on stealing into heaven under the pious 
petticoats of his better wife ; here the thing is re- 
versed, and women go to heaven because their hus- 
bands take them along. The Mormon religion is 
an excellent institution for maintaining masculine 
authority in the family ; and the greatness of a true 
Mormon is measured, indeed, by the number of 
wives he can keep in sweet and loving and espe- 
cially obedient subjugation. Such a man can have 



"a good thing for a poor man. 125 

as many wives as he wants. But President Young 
objects to multiplying wives for men who have 
not this rare domestic gift. So there is no chance 
for you and me, my dear Jones, becoming successful 
Mormons ! 

In many cases, the Mormon wives not only sup- 
port themselves and their children, but help support 
their husbands. Thus a clerk or other man, with 
similar limited income, who has yielded to the fasci- 
nations and desires of three or four women, and 
married them all, makes his home with number one, 
perhaps, and the rest live apart, each by herself, tak- 
ing in sewing or washing, or engaging in other em- 
ployment, to keep up her establishment and be no 
charge to her husband. He comes around, once 
in a while, to make her a visit, and then she sets 
out an extra table and spends all her accumulated 
earnings to make him as comfortable and herself 
as charming as possible, so that her fraction of the 
dear sainted man may be multiplied as much as 
possible. Thus the fellow, if he is lazy and has 
turned his piety to the good account of getting 
smart wives, may really board around continually, 
and live in clover, at no personal expense but his 
own clothing. Is not this a divine institution, in- 
deed ! 

When President Young goes on a journey through 
the Territory, on private or public business, he takes 
a considerable retinue with him, and always a wife 
and a barber. The former is more his servant than 
his companion in such cases, however. His house- 
hold is said to be admirably managed. A son-in- 



126 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

law acts as commissary ; the wives have nothing to 
do with the table or its supply ; and whenever they 
want new clothes or pocket money, they must go 
to this chief of staff or head of the family bureau. 
Considering his opportunities, the head of the 
Church of Latter Day Saints has made a rather 
sorry selection of women on the score of beauty. 
The oldest or first is a matronly-looking old lady, 
serene and sober; the youngest and present pet, 
who was obtained, they say, after much seeking, is 
comely but common-looking, despite the extra mil- 
linery in which she alone of the entire family in- 
dulges. The second president and favorite prophet 
of the church, Heber Kimball, who in church and 
theater keeps the cold from his bare head and the 
divine afflatus in by throwing a red bandanna hand- 
kerchief over it, is even less fortunate in the beauty 
of his wives ; it is rather an imposition upon the 
word beauty, indeed, to suggest it in their presence. 
Handsome women and girls, in fact, are scarce 
among the Mormons of Salt Lake, — the fewer 
''Gentiles" can show many more of them. Why is 
this.-* Is beauty more esthetic and ascetic.'* Or, 
good-looking women being supposed to have more 
chances for matrimony than their plainer sisters, 
do they all insist upon having the whole of one 
man, and leave the Mormon husbands to those 
whose choice is like Hobson's ? The only polyga- 
mist, into whose family circle we were freely admit- 
ted, had, however, found two very pretty women to 
divide him between them ; and I must confess they 
appeared to take their share of him quite resignedly, 



BRIGHAMS CHILDREN. 12/ 

if not amicably. They were English, and of nearly 
equal years ; appeared together in the parlor and in 
public with their husband, and dressed alike ; but 
they had the same quiet, subdued, half-sad air that 
characterized all the Mormon women, young and 
old, that I saw in public or private. There is cer- 
tainly none of that "loudness" about the Mormon 
ladies, that an eastern man cannot help observing 
in the manners of our western women generally. 
And I hardly think the difference is to be attribu- 
ted to the superior refinement and culture of the 
sisters of the Salt Lake Basin ; it rather and really 
is the sign and mark of their servitude, their de- 
basement. 

Brigham Young's younger children, as seen in his 
school, to which we were admitted, look sprightly 
and bright and handsome ; and some of his grown 
up daughters are comely and clever ; but his older 
sons give no marked sign of their father's smart- 
ness. The oldest, Brigham Jr., is mainly distin- 
guished for his size and strength, — he weighs two to 
three hundred pounds, and is muscular in propor- 
tion. He has now taken one of his wives and gone 
to England with her, on business for the church. 
The next son, John, is a poor, puny looking fellow, 
with several wives and an inordinate love for whis- 
key. Brigham's dynasty will die with himself 

There is no more love lost between the soldiers 
and the Mormons than between the soldiers and 
the Indians. The "boys in blue" regard both as 
their natural enemies, and the enemies of order and 
the government ; and the feeling is cordially recip- 



128 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

rocated. General Connor, the commander of the 
miUtary force in Utah, has never even seen Brigham 
Young; and the latter, it is quite certain, has no 
desire ever to see him. There is a provost guard 
of soldiers in Salt Lake City, but the rent of the 
building which it occupies is about expiring, and, 
according to a Mormon way of getting rid of an 
uncomfortable presence, none other is now to be 
had in its place. Every building 'singularly hap- 
pens to be occupied or engaged just now; and the 
Mormons have evidently hoped to thus drive all 
these standing menaces, and seducers of their wo- 
men, as they add the soldiers all are, out of town 
and into the camp, two miles distant. But when 
Mr. Colfax suggested to two or three of the elders 
that such a result could only be interpreted at 
Washington as a compact and contrivance to em- 
barrass the soldiers and defy the government, they 
seemed to be incited to a new and original line of 
thought; and the probability is that the provost 
guard will be able to find some unoccupied build- 
ing, that had not been before thought of 

One of the characters of Mormondom is Porter 
Rockwell, the accredited leader of the Danites or 
"Avenging Angels " of the church. We were pre- 
sented to him, and were invited to eat strawberries 
and cream at his " ranch," but our engagements did 
not permit our accepting and partaking. Though 
given to heavy whiskey drinking of late years, he 
is as mild a mannered man as ever scuttled ship or 
murdered crews ; and I really do not think that any 
anxiety for our lives entered into our declination of 



PORTER ROCKWELL, "THE AVENGER. 1 29 

his hospitality, inexplicable as it may seem that 
for any less reason we should have omitted any 
opportunity at strawberries. There is a difference 
of opinion, even among the "Gentiles," as to his 
real share in the mysterious and terrible takings- 
off of parties in bad odor with the saints of the 
church; though unlettered, he is strong-minded 
and strong-hearted, and, unless under the influence 
of a shocking fanaticism, I can hardly believe, from 
his appearance and manners, he could be guilty of 
such crimes as are laid at his door by the more im- 
placable and suspicious of the "Gentile" residents. 
I should not be willing, however, to see Mr. Fitz- 
hugh Ludlow fall in his way again ; there might not 
be murder, but the author of the largely imagina- 
tive articles in the Atlantic Monthly on this west- 
ern journey would certainly feel the sharp ven- 
geance of the injured and irate "Avenger." Mr. 
Ludlow tells the worst stories about Rockwell, such 
as that he had committed about fifty murders for 
the church and as many more on private account, 
as if accepted, proved facts ; at the same time that 
he acknowledges being his guest, and availing him- 
self of his courtesies to see the country. Porter 
shuts his teeth hard when the subject is now men- 
tioned, and mutters that he supposes "it is all 
wheat," this being Utah idiom for all right. Which 
means, of course, that he don't suppose any such 
thing. 

There is little or no immigration to the Mormons 
this season, at least not yet. They have been send- 
ing out fresh relays of missionaries and recruiting. 



130 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

agents to England and the Continent of Europe, 
and expect great returns next year. On the Sand- 
wich Islands they seem to have established a per- 
manent colony, also, to which has just been con- 
tributed a new company of about fifty, men, women 
and children from Utah. Some of the "Gentiles" 
believe this Sandwich Island movement is towards 
a new and contingent base ; and that if hard pressed 
here by the progress of civilization and the hand 
of authority, the Mormon leaders will gather up all 
their available forces and wealth, and retreat thither. 
It is certain that they must make a change of base 
of one sort or another before long, either in the 
matter of polygamy, or else in the location of their 
earthly tabernacles and kingdom. Even without 
the interference of government, they must soon 
give way here, in their peculiar sway and their re- 
volting institution, before the progress of population 
and the diversification of civilized industry that 
comes along with it. Our bachelor stage-driver 
out of Salt Lake, who said he expected to have a 
revelation soon to take one of the extra wives of 
a Mormon saint, is a representative of the Coming 
Man. Let the Mormons look out for him. 



LETTER XIV. 

THE RIDE THROUGH THE SAGE BRUSH AND THE 
GREAT BASIN. 

Virginia, Nevada, June 28. 

We are. nearly out of the Sage Brush ! Nearly 
into a "white country," where the grass grows 
green, and water runs, and trees mount skyward 
and spread sweet shade. Like some of the dry, 
barren plains that lead up to the Rocky Moun- 
tains on the east, the six hundred miles we have 
come over from Salt Lake to this point, pass through 
a region whose uses are unimaginable, unless to 
hold the rest of the globe together, or to teach pa- 
tience to travelers, or to keep close-locked in its 
mountain ranges those rich mineral treasures that 
the world did not need or was not ready for until 
now. The Basin of the Great Salt Lake, that I 
briefly described in a late letter as the center of the 
Mormon development, is but the south-eastern and 
most fertile corner of an immensely large intra- 
mountain basin, that has no water outlet to the 
ocean, that absorbs all the water developed within 
its limits, and cries, oh how hungrily for more, 
whose chief natural vegetable product is Sage 



132 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Brush, and which holds withm its bounds the great, 
if not the sole, silver mines of the nation. 

This Great Desert Basin, — but desert only because 
comparatively waterless, — lies on the very central 
and commercial line of the Republic, — the line of 
greatest population and thrift and wealth both east 
and west of it, — stretches three hundred miles from 
north to south and six hundred miles from east to 
west, is about equally divided between the two states 
of Utah and Nevada, and is walled in on the one 
side by the Rocky Mountains and on the other by 
the Sierra Nevadas. Not a wide, unbroken plain, 
however, is this vast basin desert of the West. 
Through it, north and south, run subsidiary ranges 
of mountains, averaging at least one to every fifty 
miles, and the intervening valleys or plains all dip, 
though almost imperceptibly, to 'the center, which 
gratefully suggests that they were once not alto- 
gether so tearless as now. Mountain and plain are 
alike above dew point ; rain is a rarity, — near neigh- 
bor to absolute stranger; and only an occasional 
range of the hills mounts so high as to hold its 
winter snows into the summer suns, and yield the 
summer streams that give, at rare intervals, sweet 
lines of green, affording forage for cattle and re- 
freshment and rest for traveler. Springs are even 
more infrequent, but not altogether unknown, and 
water may sometimes, though very hardly, be got, 
when all else fails, by digging deep wells. Such 
streams as rise from springs or snow-banks in the 
mountains, begin to shrink as they reach the Plains, 
and end in salt lakes, or sink quietly into the fam- 



THE RIVERS OF THE GREAT BASIN. 1 33 

ishing earth. Humboldt River, the largest and 
longest of the basin, runs west and south from three 
hundred to five hundred miles, and then finds igno- 
minious end in a "sink," or, in a very natural big 
disgust at the impossibility of the job it has under- 
taken, quietly "peters out." So of the Carson 
River, which comes from the Sierra Nevadas on 
the west, and finds its home in a lagoon within 
sight of its parent peaks. Reese River, now so fa- 
mous as localizing the new and extensive silver 
mining operations about Austin, is but a sluggish 
brook that the shortest-legged man could step across 
at its widest, and yields itself up to the hot sands 
without greening but a narrow line in the broad 
plain in which it runs. And yet it is the largest 
and almost only stream that we met in traveling 
westward from the Jordan which waters the valley 
of Salt Lake ; and the two are four hundred miles 
apart ! 

Through this wide stretch of treeless mountain 
and plain, at its center, — fifty to one hundred miles 
below the old and more fortunately watered emi- 
grant route along the valley of the Humboldt, — on a 
nearly straight line west, we have made the most 
rapid stage ride yet achieved on the great overland 
line, and the equal perhaps of any ever made of 
like distance on the Continent. Mr. Holladay*s 
ownership ceases at Salt Lake ; from there hither, 
the stages are run by the Overland Mail Company, 
whose stockholders are New Yorkers, and mainly 
the same as those of the great express company of 
Wells, Fargo & Co., which monopolizes the express 



134 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

business in all these western States and Territories, 
having its offices in every town and village, and ex- 
tending its routes as fast and as far as the most 
enterprising prospectors successfully push their 
hunt for the precious metals. At Salt Lake City, 
therefore, we parted with our protector and com- 
panion, thus far, Mr. Otis, — with many a rare mem- 
ory of his good fellowship, — and found new friends 
and careful protection on our farther journey in. 
the officers and drivers of the Overland Company. 
Their part of the line has been happily exempt, for 
now two years, from the inroads of the Indians; 
it is all nearer to good markets than most of Mr. 
Holladay's ; and so we naturally found it in better 
condition, and able to run more promptly and regu- 
larly. Ambitious to see how fast they could send 
Mr. Colfax and his friends over their route, they 
took us up at Salt Lake on Monday morning week, 
and set us down at Austin, four hundred miles dis- 
tant, in fifty hours, or two-thirds the time usually 
taken. Awaiting our examination of the mining 
region about Austin, we were again put over the 
road on the double quick, and landed in Virginia, 
two hundred miles farther off, in twenty-two hours 
more, or fourteen less than the schedule time ; and 
so came into this town at six o'clock Sunday morn- 
ing, while all the elements of a magnificent popular' 
reception, that had been arranged for the night be- 
fore, were fast asleep in bed, and totally undreaming 
of the march that we were steaHng upon them. 
Here, we are near the foot of the Sierra Nevadas, 
on the borders of California, and will be transferred, 



A FAST STAGE RIDE. 135 

for our farther progress, to still another line of 
coaches. 

But our fast ride by the Overland Mail stages 
from Salt Lake will always be a chief feature in the 
history and memory of our grand journey across 
the Continent. The stations of the company are 
ten to fifteen miles apart; at every station fresh 
horses, ready harnessed, took the places of the old, 
with a delay of from two to four minutes only; 
every fifty miles a new driver took his place on the 
box ; wherever meals were to be eaten, they were 
ready to serve on arrival ; and so, with horses ever 
fresh and fat, and gamey, — horses that would shine 
in Central Park and Fifth Avenue equipages, — with 
drivers, gentlemanly, intelligent and better dressed 
than their passengers, and a division superintend- 
ent, who had planned the ride and came along to 
see it executed, for each two hundred miles, — we 
were whirled over the rough mountains and through 
the dry and dusty plains of this uninhabited and 
uninhabitable region, rarely passing a house except 
the stage stations, never seeing wild bird or beast, 
for there were none to see, as rapidly and as regu- 
larly as we could have been over macadamized 
roads amid a complete civilization. The speed 
rarely fell below eight miles an hour, and often ran 
up to twelve. But so wisely was all arranged, and 
so well executed, that not an animal suffered ; to 
horses and men the ride seemed to be the work of 
every day, as indeed it was in everything but our 
higher rate of speed. 

But the passengers are content that it should be 



136 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

a single experience for them ; they are glad to have 
had it, but will spare their friends a repetition, — at 
present. The alkali dust, dry with a season's sun, 
fine with the grinding of a season's stages and 
freight trains, was thick and constant and pene- 
trating beyond experience and comparison. It filled 
the air, — it was the air ; it covered our bodies, — it 
penetrated them ; it soared to Almighty attributes, 
and became omnipresent, and finding its way into 
bags and trunks, begrimed all our clean clothes and 
reduced everything and everybody to a common 
plane of dirt, with a soda, soapy flavor to all. 

This alkali element in the soil of all this region, 
as of much of the country on the other side of the 
Rocky Mountains, I have heard no explanation of. 
In some spots it prevails to such a degree as to clean 
the ground of all, even the most barren vegetation ; 
and wide, smooth, bare alkali plains stretch out be- 
fore the eye sometimes for miles, and white in the 
distance like a snow-bank. In some places so strong 
is it that the earth when wet rises like bread under 
yeast. It taints the water everywhere, and some- 
times so strongly that bread mixed with it needs no 
other "rising." Yet I find no evidence of any gen- 
eral unhealthy effect from its presence ; animals eat 
the grass and drink the water flavored with it ; and 
though the dust chokes all pores and makes the 
nose and lips sore, the inconvenience and annoy- 
ance seem to be but temporary from even large 
doses of it. 

Then the jolts of the rocks and the "chuck holes" 
of the road, to which the drivers in their rapid prog- 



MR. GREELEY AND HANK MONK, THE DRIVER. 1 3/ 

ress could give no heed, kept us in a somewhat per- 
petual and not altogether graceful motion. There 
was certainly small sleep to be enjoyed during this 
memorable ride of three days and nights ; and 
though we made the best of it with joke and felici- 
tation at each other's discomfort, there was none 
not glad when it was over. The drivers all had the 
same consolation to administer to us for the rough 
riding, and that was the story, memorable all along 
this route, of Mr. Greeley's experience upon it some 
six years ago. He had met rather a dull driver, was 
behind time, and became impatient, as he had a lec- 
ture engagement just over the mountains in Cali- 
fornia. So when he struck the mountain road, and 
a noted driver then and still, — for stage driving is a 
trade that men follow through their lives, — by name 
Hank Monk, Mr. Greeley suggested that he would 
like to get over the road a trifle faster. " Yes," said 
Hank, as he gathered up the reins of six half-wild 
mustangs, then in common use on the road, — "keep 
your seat Mr. Greeley, and I will get you through 
in time." Crack went his whip; the mustangs 
dashed into a fearful pace, up hill and down, along 
precipices frightful to .look at, over rocks that kept 
the noted passenger passing frantically between 
seat and ceiling of the coach; — the philosopher 
soon was getting more than he bargained for ; and 
at the first soft place on the road, he mildly sug- 
gested to the driver that a half an hour more or less 
would not make much difference. But Monk was 
in for his drive and his joke, and replied again, with 
a twinkle in his left eye, after a fresh cut at his mus- 



I3o ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

tangs, "Just keep your seat, Mr. Greeley, and you 
shall be through in time." Mr. Greeley kept his 
seat so well as he. could, got through on time, and 
better, unharmed, though greatly to his surprise, in 
view of the dangers and roughness of the drive, 
and rewarded the driver, who had served him the 
rough joke, with a new suit of clothes. The story 
is now classic with all the drivers and all travelers 
on the road; and Monk wears a watch with his re- 
ply to Mr. Greeley engraved on the case,— the pres- 
ent of some other passengers, whom he had driven 
both rapidly and safely over his perilous route. 
The road is better now; and the horses tamer; but 
the driving is hardly less fearful. 

It is an interesting problem whether these un- 
promising valleys, gray and brown with an unnat- 
ural sunshine, can ever be subdued to the service 
of the population that the mineral wealth of their 
hills invites and will inevitably draw into them. 
Save a sandy desert of sixty miles wide, which 
comes after the fertile strip of eastern Utah is 
passed, there is nothing in the soil itself that for- 
bids valuable uses. It is made up of the wash and 
waste of the Rocky Mountains, and wherever even 
moderately watered is very productive. Some the- 
orists contend that with the occupation and use of 
the country, rains • will multiply ; and the observa- 
tions of the Mormons give a faint encouragement 
to this idea. Another theory is, that by plowing 
during the, later rains of spring, and sowing during 
the long, dry summer rest, the smaller and hardy 
grains will sprout with the fall rains, strengthen in 



THE BEAUTY OF THE HILLS. 1 39 

the winter, and quickly ripen in the early spring. 
Such treatment involves a year's fallow, as the har- 
vest would be too late for another plowing the same 
spring. This culture is doubtless practicable, as it 
has been proven, in the high sage brush plains in 
California; but it would seem as if these alkaline 
valleys of the great interior basin were too cold, 
and go dry too long, for like successful treatment. 
It is worthy intelligent and persistent experiment, 
however ; for I observe that wherever the sage bush 
can grow, other things can and will with the addi- 
tion of water. 

Do not think such a country is altogether with- 
out beauty or interest for a traveler. Mountains are 
always beautiful ; and here they are ever in sight, 
wearing every variety of shape, and even in their 
hard and bare surfaces presenting many a fascina- 
tion of form, — running up into sharp peaks ; rising 
up and rounding out into innumerable fat mam- 
millas, exquisitely shapen, and inviting possibly to 
auriferous feasts ; sloping down into faint foot-hills, 
and mingling with the plain to which they are all 
destined; and now and then offering the silvery 
streak of snow, that is the sign of water for man 
and the promise of grass for ox. Add to the moun- 
tains the clear, pure, rare atmosphere, bringing re- 
mote objects close, giving new size and distinctness 
to moon and stars, offering sunsets and sunrises of 
indescribable richness and reach of color, and ac- 
companied with cloudless skies and a south wind, 
refreshing at all times, and cool and exhilarating 
ever in the afternoon and evening; and you have 



140 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

large compensations even for the lack of vegeta- 
tion and color in the landscape. There is a rich 
exhilaration, especially, in the fresh evening air, dry, 
clear and strengthening, that no eastern mountain 
or ocean breeze can rival. In looking out through 
it at sunset on the starry heavens, and in taking in 
its subtle inspiration, one almost forgets alkali, and 
for the nonce does not remember flowers and grass 
and trees. 



LETTER XV. 

THE SILVER MINES OF NEVADA— AUSTIN AND 
VIRGINIA CITY. 



Virginia, Nevada, June 27. 

California, mature' at eleven, plants a colony in 
1859-60, which ripens into a new State in 1864. 
Nevada is the first child of California. As bachelor 
uncles and fond friends sometimes think children 
are born in order to wheedle them out of silver 
cups ; so Nevada sprang into being under like 
metallic influence. And if she promised to give, 
rather than to get, she fails yet to keep full faith ; 
for though in her six years of life, she has yielded 
sixty millions of material for pure coin of the realm, 
she has absorbed much more than that amount of 
California capital and labor. Coming west out of 
the barren plains of the great interior basin, — even 
in their midst, — we strike the first wave of Pacific 
coast life at Austin. Five hundred miles from San 
Francisco, two hundred miles from the Sierra Ne- 
vadas, in middle Nevada, huddled and incoherent 
along the steep hill-sides of a close canyon, running 
sharply up from the Reese River valley, lies the east- 
ernmost and freshest mining town of the State and 
the section. 



142 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Two years old, Austin has already had a popula- 
tion of six or eight thousand, cast one thousand 
nine hundred votes at the presidential election, and, 
now, experiencing its first reaction, falls back to 
four thousand inhabitants. It bears family likeness 
to Central City and Black Hawk in Colorado; 
houses are built anywhere and everywhere, and 
streets are then made to reach them ; one side of 
a house will be four stories and the other but two, — 
such is the lay of the land ; not a tree nor a flower, 
nor a grass plot does the whole town boast, — not 
one ; but it has the best French restaurant I have 
met since New York, a daily newspaper, and the 
boot-blacks and barbers and baths are luxurious 
and aristocratic to the continental degree; — while 
one of the finest specimens of feminine physical 
beauty and grace presides over a lager beer saloon ; 
gambling riots openly in the large area of every 
drinking shop, — miners risking to this chance at 
night the proceeds of the scarcely less doubtful 
chance of the day ; and weak-minded and curious 
strangers are tempted by such advertisements as 
this :— 

Mammoth Lager Beer Saloon, in the basement, corner Main and 
Virginia streets, Austin, Nevada. Choice liquors, wines, lager beer 
and cigars, served by pretty girls, who understand their business 
and attend to it. Votaries o^ Bacchus, Gambrinus, Venus or Cupid 
can spend an evening agreeably at the Mammoth Saloon. 

Both inquisitive and classical, we went in search 
of this bower of the senses ; and we found a cellar, 
whitewashed and sawdusted ; two fiddles and a clar- 
ionet in one corner ; a bar of liquors glaring in an- 



MYTHOLOGY AND MINES AT AUSTIN. I43 

other; and a fat, coarse Jew girl proved the sole 
embodiment and representative of all these pro- 
claimed gods and goddesses. We blushingly apol- 
ogized, and retired with our faces to Mistress Venus, 
Cupid, etc., as guests retire from mortal monarchs, — 
lest our pockets should be picked ; and we shall take 
our mythology out of the dictionaries hereafter. 

All up the Austin hill-sides, among the houses, 
and beyond them, are the big ant-hills that denote 
mines or the hopes of such. Down in the valley 
are the mills for crushing and separating the ore. 
Back and around the corners, and over the moun- 
tains for many miles, are similar though less frequent 
signs. The main Austin belt, however, has been 
successfully traced for but five miles, and one in 
width. The veins of ore lie thick in the rotten 
granite of the hills, like the spread fingers of some 
mineral giant. They are also comparatively small, 
sometimes as inches, rarely widening to more than 
three or four feet. But to compensate for this dis- 
advantage, they are exceeding rich and generally 
reliable. But then again, the metal is so com- 
pounded with sulphurets of other metals, with an- 
timony and arsenic, that it is hard to extract, and 
requires a roasting, burning, or smelting process, 
like the gold ores of Colorado, in addition and in- 
termediate to those of crushing and amalgamating, 
to successful operation. About fifty veins are now 
being worked successfully, and as many more have 
been satisfactorily prospected, and are being put in 
condition for operating, or are awaiting the coming 
of capital and its machinery. Water flows into all 



144 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

the veins freely, and much labor is required to pump 
it out. The first necessity of every mine, indeed, 
is a steam engine and hoisting apparatus, to draw 
up water and ore from the bottom of the shaft or 
tunnel. But few of the mines have mills connected 
with them ; several of the older and strong compa- 
nies only combine both operations, and make the 
two profits. The mills are located with regard to 
wood and water, rather than to the ore, and the lat- 
ter is carted sometimes for miles to be worked. 
Half a dozen mills, working some seventy-five 
stamps in all, are already put up in the Austin and 
neighboring canyons ; but only about fifty stamps 
are now at work. The number will speedily be 
doubled by mills going up or undergoing repair. 
The ore yields from one • hundred to four hundred 
dollars in silver and gold per ton ; but at present 
prices, it costs nearly or quite one hundred dol- 
lars to mine and work it, so that which yields only 
one hundred dollars cannot be profitably worked. 
Consequently miners, who have no mills, separate 
their ores, and hire worked out only the most valu- 
able, saving the rest up until competition brings 
down the price of milling, or they erect mills of 
their own. The charge for working the ores at the 
mills is eighty dollars a ton, about half of which is 
profit. The same description of work can be hired 
done here at Virginia for thirty to forty dollars per 
ton. The ore of one mine near Austin has aver- 
aged one hundred and eighty dollars a ton for many 
months, and yields a net profit of at least eighty 
dollars a ton to its owners. Another company, 



CASES OF SUCCESSFUL MINING. 145 

owning both mill and mines, finds its ores yielding 
one hundred and fifty dollars a ton without assort-' 
ing, and the cost of getting out and working is but 
fifty dollars ; so that, working six tons a day, their 
steady profits are six hundred dollars daily, on an 
expenditure, in investments, of less than two hun- 
dred thousand dollars, and the employment of about 
thirty men. 

New York companies are now coming in here 
and putting up fine new establishments. One hun- 
dred thousand dollars will pay for a fine large mill 
with fifteen to twenty stamps. Promising, pros- 
pected mines can be bought for from ten thousand 
to one hundred thousand dollars, depending upon 
the extent of their claims on the surface, and the 
notoriety they have attained, as well as upon the 
gullibility of the purchasers. It is not advisable for 
new enterprises to erect mills, first because there 
will probably soon, be enough in the region to 
supply present wants at a fair price, and second, 
because so soon as a -cheaper and more speedy 
communication can be obtained, the ores will be 
transferred to other places, where fuel and water 
are more abundant, for milling. Even now, with 
freight ten to twelve cents a pound from Austin to 
San Francisco, all the ore from one mine in Austin 
is sent to England to be worked. It is so Valuable 
and yet so refractory that it pays to send it this long 
distance in order to give it a cheap but complete 
manipulation. 

New discoveries of valuable ore are constantly 
making both in the immediate neighborhood of" 



146 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Austin, and far south and north on the same range 
of mountains. In botli directions veins equally 
rich and much larger have been found ; and many 
parties are busy prospecting. Scattered mills are 
also in operation in these more remote localities ; 
and many a mining village is struggling for noto- 
riety among the Humboldt mountains to the north- 
west. But Austin is the chief point of mining 
population and development in central Nevada, as 
Virginia is in western ; and the two are by far the 
most con'spicuous and representative points of the 
silver mining interest on the PaciBc Coast. 

But Virginia presents many contrasts to Austin. 
It is three or four years older ; it puts its gambling 
behind an extra door ; it is beginning to recognize 
the Sabbath, has many churches open, and closes 
part of its stores on that day ; is exceedingly well 
built, in large proportion with solid brick stores and 
warehouses ; and though the ^st and fascinating 
times of 1862-63 are over, when it held from fifteen 
thousand to twenty thousand people, and Broadway 
and Wall street were not more crowded than its 
streets, it has a thrifty and enterprising air, and con- 
tains a population of ten thousand, besides the ad- 
joining town or extension of Gold Hill, which has 
about three thousand more. 

The situation of Virginia is very picturesque ; 
above the canyon or ravine, it is spread along the 
mountain side, like the roof of a house, about half 
way to the top. Right above rises a noble peak, 
fifteen hundred feet higher than the town, itself 
about six thousand feet high ; below stretches the 



THE COMSTOCK LEDGE AT VIRGINIA. I47 

foot-hill, bisected by the ravine ; around on all sides, 
sister hills rise in varying bights, rich in roundness 
and other /orms of beauty, but brown in barrenness, 
as if shorn for prize fight, and fading out into dis- 
tant plain, with a sweet green spot to mark the rare 
presence of water and verdure. 

Different, too, in its mines is Virginia from Aus- 
tin. Instead of numerous little veins, the wealth 
of Virginia lies in one grand ledge of ore, running 
along the mountain side, just within the upper line 
of the town, for three miles ; of width, from fifty to 
one hundred feet, and of depth incalculable. This 
is the famous Comstock Ledge ; and no silver mines 
worth working have yet been found off from it, in 
the neighborhood of Virginia; though thousands 
of dollars and years of labor have been spent in the 
search. Nor has the working of this ledge at its 
various points been attended with uniform success. 
At least as many companies have failed upon it as 
have succeeded. Only fourteen out of about thirty 
companies formed and still at work upon the Com- 
stock Ledge have paid dividends. One company 
has spent over a million dollars in the vain pursuit 
of "pay ore ;" the vein it has, the ore it finds, but 
the latter is not rich enough to pay for milling. But 
it still goes on, seduced by the hope of finding the 
valuable streak which its neighbor had yesterday, 
but may have lost to-day. Other companies have 
spent hundreds of thousands for vain expectations ; 
but still hold on, some of them at least, in the be- 
lief that a lower point in the lode will develop sure 
and recompensing wealth. The success of other 



^8 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

companies has been more marked even than these 
failures, though they be fewer in number. 

The Gould & Curry is the largest and most fa- 
mous enterprise here. It has twelve hundred feet 
in length on the surface of the ledge, has dug down 
six hundred to eight hundred feet in depth, and 
back and forth on its line twenty or thirty times ; 
Its whole excavations foot up five millions of cubic 
feet, and afford some two miles of underground 
travel, and it has consumed more lumber to brace 
up the walls of its tunnels than the entire city of 
Virginia above ground has used for all its build- 
ings. This company own the largest and finest 
mill probably in the world, costing nearly a million 
of dollars, and running eighty stamps. This mam- 
moth enterprise has only drawn one hundred and 
eighty thousand dollars from its stockholders, and 
has paid them back four millions in dividends. 
Altogether, it has produced twelve millions of bul- 
lion, and but for extravagance in management and 
the necessity for many a blind and expensive ex- 
periment, its profit share of this sum would have 
been at least fifty, instead of thirty-three, per cent. 
In one year the yield of this mine was four and a 
I^alf millions, and its profits one million , but with 
a railroad to San Francisco, the latter would have 
been swollen to three millions ! 

This immense development was secured under 
the energetic superintendence of Mr. Charles L. 
Strong, a native of Easthampton in Hampshire 
County, Massachusetts, brother of the brave Gen- 
eral Strong who fell in leading the black troops 



THE GOULD AND CURRY MINE. I49 

upon the forts of Charleston, and the nephew and 
adopted son of Mr. A. L. Strong of that village. 
Mr. Strong took charge of the Gould & Curry mine 
in its infancy, and carried it on to its perfection and 
triumph, when, about a year and a half ago, his con- 
stitution gave way under its great responsibility and 
work, and he was forced to retire. At one time, the 
mine sold at the rate of six thousand dollars a foot, 
but now it is down to about eighteen hundred ; for, 
though it is producing bullion at the rate of two 
millions a year, and pays handsome monthly divi- 
dends uninterruptedly, it has about exhausted all 
the valuable ore in its mine at the present depth, 
and is working up mainly the poorer ore that it re- 
jected in its first progress through the vein. The 
company is now making an important experiment 
to find richer ore at a lower depth ; and by means 
of a tunnel, started half a mile off down the hill, 
and a shaft one thousand feet deep, will soon open 
the mine that distance down. The future fortunes 
of the company hang mainly upon the result of this 
enterprise. Not only, indeed, that of the Gould & 
Curry, but of most of the enterprises upon the Corn- 
stock Ledge. Many of them have reached, or seem 
to be reaching, a like point of exhaustion with the 
Gould & Curry, and are either making a similar ex- 
periment, or are awaiting the results of this. The 
promises of a successful finding are certainly quite 
encouraging, and they are strengthened by the re- 
cent success of some small experiments in the same 
direction on distant parts of the ledge, which seem 
to indicate improved ore at the greater depths. 



150 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

The Ophir Company is another of the mammoth 
enterprises. That, too, has taken out twelve mil- 
lions of bullion, but the stockholders have not got 
much as their share, in consequen<:e of extravagant 
and fickle management, and experiments that proved 
expensive failures. The Savage Company, owning 
another large and successful mine, has taken out 
six millions bullion. 

That part of the Comstock Ledge lying on Gold 
Hill is divided up into smaller properties, such as one 
hundred and tw^o hundred feet, and one as low as 
ten feet, measuring on the surface ; and these have 
been worked generally to better advantage than the 
sections in Virginia. The Empire Company's claim 
has sold as high as eighteen thousand dollars per 
foot, the highest price ever obtained for any mine 
here; but it has grown less profitable and inter- 
rupted its dividends since, and has fallen to from 
three thousand to four thousand dollars a foot. 
This company never took any money from its 
stockholders, and in only one month through its 
operations of some years has it foiled to pay ex- 
penses. Another successful and now popular com- 
pany in Gold Hill is the Yellow Jacket, which has 
taken out about two millions of bullion, and paid its 
stockholders three hundred and thirty thousand 
dollars, or thirty-five thousand dollars more than all 
their assessments. But among its heavy expendi- 
tures, which suggests one cause of the ruin of many 
of these mining companies, is an item of two hun- 
dred and seventy thousand dollars for "legal ser- 
vices and quieting title." 



COST AND PROFIT OF THE VIRGINIA ORES. I5I 

The Comstock Ledge ore is, with small excep- 
tions, much more simple in its combinations than 
that at Austin, and requires only to be crushed and 
amalgamated to extract the bullion. These two 
processes will produce from sixty to eighty per cent, 
of all the precious metal. It is also less rich than 
the Austin ore ; fifty dollars is a good average per 
ton, and is about what the Gould & Curry claims 
for what it works of its own ore. But the average 
of all the mines is even less than that ; one mine 
reports an average yield for the year of but $30.26 
per ton ; and the product of the whole ledge for the 
first three months of the present year is given to 
me as about one hundred thousand tons, yielding 
nearly four millions dollars, and averaging a frac- 
tion less than forty dollars. To meet this lower 
yield per ton, however, is a greatly decreased cost 
of working the ore, which does not need the roast- 
ing or smelting process, and the whole expense of 
mining and reducing does not exceed twenty-five 
dollars a ton, and is even brought as low as eighteen 
and twenty dollars by the Gould & Curry com- 
pany. The probability is that even this cost may 
be much reduced, and that ore which will yield 
but ten and fifteen dollars to the ton can soon be 
worked with profit. A choice selection of the 
Gould & Curry ore, such as promises one thousand 
dollars a ton or over, — for there are streaks of 
such in all the mines, — is sent to Swanzey, Wales, 
for working ; — this amounts to say fifty tons a year ; 
a next lower quality, which will yield two hundred 
or three hundred dollars a ton, and amounts to some 



152 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

fifty or sixty tons a montli, is sent over into the 
neighboring valley of Washoe to be treated by the 
Freiburg process, which includes the roasting, and 
is the same as is necessary for all the Reese River 
ores. The balance or bulk of the product is treated 
at their own mill, which disposes of about one hun- 
dred tons a day, or, if there is an excess, as there 
often is, it is worked at some neighboring custom 
mills. 

There are, in all, seventy-seven quartz mills 
working on ore from the Comstock Ledge, twenty- 
two of which are connected with mines, and fifty- 
five are custom mills. They are located in four 
different counties, only about half being in the 
same county with the mines whose ores they crush. 
Fifty-four of them are run by steam, twelve by 
water, and eleven by water and steam combined. 
They have in all one thousand and nineteen stamps, 
and their capacity is one thousand eight hundred 
and forty-two tons daily, which is only about two- 
thirds employed now. The mines have been run- 
ning down in daily production, from one thousand 
six hundred and forty tons last October to one thou- 
sand in June, but they are now increasing again ; 
and if the present search for paying ore at lower 
depths in the leading mines is realized, it will 
speedily go up to a higher point than it ever before 
reached. . The present product of the whole State 
is probably nearly twenty millions dollars a year, 
of which Austin is sending forward a million and a 
quarter, and Virginia and Gold Hill fifteen to six- 
teen millions. Though the bullion, as perfected 



CALIFORNIA S ACCOUNT WITH NEVADA. 1 53 

here, looks like pure silver, nearly or quite one-third 
of it in value is really gold ; and this is extracted 
after it gets to market, in England, or by the United 
States mints at San Francisco and in the East. 

During the great excitement of 1862, when the 
Austin mines were first discovered, and the Com- 
stock Ledge was doing its best, there was a wild 
speculation in mining properties, and many bogus 
or wildcat claims were bought and sold, and numer- 
ous companies organized that never did any busi- 
ness. Some statistics before me give seven hundred 
as the number of companies incorporated to operate 
on the Comstock Ledge alone ; yet of these but one 
hundred had prospected mines., and only fourteen 
have operated so successfully as to pay dividends. 

Most of the capital invested in the Nevada mines 
so far has been Californian ; as most of the men 
engaged upon the mines, either in managing or 
working them, are from that State. The leading 
companies are owned and controlled in San Fran- 
cisco, and have been to a considerable extent the 
victims of vicious stock gambling, which the real 
uncertainties of mining and the ease with which 
bogus uncertainties can be plausibly manufactured 
have tended to facilitate. As yet, though many 
great fortunes have been made, both from the mines 
and the commerce they have developed, California 
has not got the money back which she has sent 
over the Sierras into Nevada; some say she has 
invested many times as much as she has received, 
and that not one-twentieth, not one-fiftieth, indeed, 
of all the mining enterprises in the silver State have 

7* 



154 ACROSS THE CONTINENT, 

succeeded ; but a probably wiser judgment is tliat, 
taking the conceded values of the newly created 
property in Nevada, she pays a fair profit to-day ; and 
that while one hundred millions have been invested 
in mills and mines, and only sixty millions taken 
out in bullion, the mills and mines are worth much 
more than the balance. Then California has taught 
herself and the country how to mine intelligently 
and economically by her Nevada experience ; min- 
ing here has been carried to greater perfection than 
ever before on this Continent ; and the wisdom 
thus acquired is already going back to profit Cali- 
fornia's own gold mines, and remains and extends 
over all the mining region as a sure and safe basis 
for all future operations. 

Eastern capital and eastern men are now coming 
hither in force, and promise soon to start up anew 
the rather dormant life of the State, and give rapid 
and profitable development to its great mining 
wealth. One small circle of New York capitalists 
have already invested about two millions dollars in 
mills and mines here and in Austin, and by the 
help of a liberal faith and the employment of first- 
class agents, are doing well in all their enterprises. 
In view of this fact and example, and the wide in- 
terest manifest throughout the East, as to this min- 
ing wealth and the chances for realizing from it, let 
me organize some conclusions from my various ob- 
servations and statistics : — 

I. The eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevadas in 
both California and Nevada, and the mountain 
ranges of Nevada, are undoubtedly rich in copper, 



CONCLUSIONS AS TO NEVADA MINES. 1 55 

silver and gold, silver being the predominating and 
most available metal. 

2. In spite of the scarcity of wood and water, 
and the high cost of labor and food, consequent 
upon the great distance from supplies, and the lack 
of railroad communication, the extraction of these 
metals will pay generously for the wise, careful, hon- 
est and persevering employment of capital and labor. 

3. TheComstock Ledge in Virginia and its neigh- 
borhood is being fully developed, and offers no op- 
portunities for new enterprises; though as Pacific 
capital is not satisfied with less than fifty or seventy- 
five per cent, per annum, and eastern is happy with 
twenty-five, purchases of some of its mines, or of 
interests in them, might be favorably effected from 
the latter quarter without the risk of new enter- 
prises. But those who undertake such purchases, 
or indeed any investments in this quarter, must not 
think to find these people out here wanting in sharp- 
ness at a bargain. Wall street is easily out-man- 
aged by Montgomery street, and an old miner, who 
is generally a traditional Yankee with large im- 
provements, will fool a doten spectacled professors 
from your colleges in a single day. The latter sort 
of people are, indeed, at a great discount in this 
region, as all the rules of science with which they 
come equipped, are outraged and defied by the lo- 
cation and combination of ores, rocks, oils and soils 
on this side of the Rocky Mountains. 

4. The mines of the Reese River district (Aus- 
tin, &c.,) though of narrow veins, offer a very prom- 
ising field for new enterprises. They are richer, 



156 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

and seem to be more certain to hold out than those 
of the Comstock Ledge ; though in the matter of 
continuance they need yet further testing. But no 
such enterprise should be entered upon without 
first sending an intelligent agent out to examine 
the condition of things, the location of the mines, 
their improvements and promises ; and, if not him- 
self a miner, he should call to his aid here one of 
that class upon whom he can rely for experience 
and integrity. 

5. Beginners in the business should not be in 
haste to buy or erect mills. There is a superabun- 
dance to-day of that sort of property on the Pacific 
Coast. Those at Virginia and its neighborhood are 
not worth what they cost (six millions) by at least 
twenty-five or thirty per cent. ; and stamps and en- 
gines can probably be bought cheaper on this Coast 
than they can be bought in New York and shipped 
around or across the mountains. The first business 
is to work the mine and get out the ore, which can 
be crushed at the custom mills, already or soon to 
be plenty, in the neighborhood of all the mining 
centers ; and then measiSring the profits thus real- 
ized, and finding them sure and reliable, the mana- 
gers can decide whether it is best to extend opera- 
tions with them, by buying and working more mines 
or by running their own mills. 

6. Everything depends upon an intelligent and 
faithful superintendent. I meet many such here, 
experienced Californians, Englishmen from the Mex- 
ican mines, Germans of both practice and theory 
at home, New York and Boston merchants. Fore- 



HINTS TO CAPITALISTS. 15/ 

men of mills and mines, first promoted from pick 
and shovel, are good material for such positions, 
and are gaining them. The miners as a class are 
of a higher grade than eastern laborers, and they 
offer many individuals fit for the upper places in 
the business. I was impressed with the wisdom of 
an organization which a party of Rhode Island cap- 
italists had made in Colorado. They combined 
four or five different mines and mills, each distinct 
in its affairs, under the general management or over- 
seership of an experienced scientific miner from Cal- 
ifornia, and sent along with him from home a com- 
mon treasurer and accountant. In this way they 
got the benefit of the best talent and experience, 
and the most reliable guardianship over the expen- 
ditures, without making the cost thereof too heavy. 

7. Do not make the capital of your mining com- 
pany out of all proportion to the cost of the enter- 
prise. Avoid putting up a property, that has cost 
one hundred thousand dollars and needs a working 
capital of as much more, to two millions, because 
you may hope sometime to pay a ten per cent, div- 
idend on such a sum. And then, again, do not in- 
sist on having a dividend at the end of the first 
thirty days, unless you are ready to pay an assess- 
ment at the beginning thereof to meet it. 

8. When somebody offers you a mine, whose ore 
assays one thousand or ten thousand dollars a ton, 
you need not necessarily disbelieve him, but do not 
necessarily conclude that all its ore, for an indefinite 
distance into the earth, is of equal value. The 
Comstock Ledge was opened with a chunk that 



158 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

yielded twenty thousand to thirty thousand dollars 
per ton, or at that rate ; but as I have told you, the 
mines on that ledge that are paying at all, do not 
average forty dollars from their ore. Every day new 
discoveries are being made, south and north, in the 
State, of lodes whose surface ore pays, according to 
report, any amount this side of one hundred thou- 
sand dollars a ton! yet it does not follow that the 
mine below it will even pay for working. For these 
are among the doubtful things that are very uncer- 
tain in their progress. Even the poorest mines 
have their streaks and chunks of rich ore ; do not, 
therefore, judge by a single fist-full nor by an assay ; 
but invest your money only after you have ascer- 
tained how much your mine will practically work 
out, cart-load by cart-load, without culling. 

9. And if you have neither time nor money 
enough, nor disposition, perhaps, to go largely into 
these mining enterprises, and follow their manage- 
ment intelligently, but still would like to make some 
small ventures to fortune in this direction, seek out 
some company that are in or going into the busi- 
ness, on these principles, and that have got a rea- 
sonably sure thing of it, and make your investment 
with them ; and then be content with twenty-five 
per cent, return for your money. If it yields more, 
give it away in charity, — if less, or even nothing, 
don't swear nor mention it to your wife. 

10. And finally, — though the subject, like the 
veins, is inexhaustible, — if you read so far as this, 
and make profitable use of these suggestions, " re- 
member the printer," when the dividends come in. 



LETTER XVI. 

THE CONTINENT ACROSS: THE RIDE OVER THE 
SIERRAS. 



San Francisco, July 4. 

Across the Continent! The Great Ride is fin 
ished. Fifteen hundred miles of railroad, two thou- 
sand of staging, again sixty miles of railway, and 
then one hundred and fifty miles by steamboat down 
the Sacramento River, and the goal is reached, the 
Continent is spanned. Seven weeks of steady jour- 
neying, within hail of a single parallel line from east 
to west, and still the Republic ! Still the old flag, — 
the town is gay with its. beauty to-day, — still the 
same Fourth of July ; — better than all, still the same 
people, with hearts aglow with the same loyalty and 
pride in the American Union, and the same purpose 
and the same faith for its future. 

Greater the wonder grows at the extent of the 
Republic ; but larger still our wonder at the myste- 
rious but unmistakable homogeneity of its people. 
San Francisco, looking westward to the Orient for 
greatness, cooling its summer heats with Pacific 
breezes, thinks the same thoughts, breathes the 
same patriotism, burns with the same desires that 



l60 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

inspire New York and Boston, whose outlook is 
eastward, and which seem to borrow their civihza- 
tion with their commerce from Europe. Sacra- 
mento talks as you do in Springfield ; Nevada, 
over the mountains, almost out of the world, an- 
ticipates New England in her judgments, and makes 
up her verdict, while those close to the " Hub of the 
Universe" are looking over the testimony. 

It is this that is the greatest thing about our coun, 
try ; that mak^s it the wonder of nations, the mar- 
vel of history, — the unity of its people in ideas and 
purpose ; their quick assimilation of all emigra- 
tion, — come it so far or so various ; their simul- 
taneous and similar currents of thought, their spon- 
taneous, concurrent formation and utterance of a 
united Public Opinion. This is more than extent 
of territory, more than wealth of resource, more 
than beauty of landscape, more than variety of cli- 
mate and productions, more than marvelous mate- 
.al development, more than cosmopolitan popula- 
cions, because it exists in spite of them, and con- 
quers them all by its subtle electricity. 

It is very interesting, indeed, to stand amid this 
civilization of half a generation ; to see towns that 
were not in 1850, now wearing an old and almost 
decaying air ; to walk up and down the close built 
streets of this metropolis, and doubt whether they 
look most like Paris or New York, Brussels or 
Turin ; to count the ocean steamers in the bay, or 
passing out through the narrow crack in the coast 
hills beautifully called the Golden Gate, and wonder 
as you finish your fingers where they all came from 



THE CIVILIZATION OF THE PACIFIC COAST. l6l 

and are going to ; to find an agriculture richer and 
more various than that of IlHnois ; to feast the 
senses on a horticulture that marries the temperate 
and torrid zones, and makes of every yard and gar- 
den and orchard one immense eastern green-house ; 
to observe a cammerce and an industry that supply 
every comfort, minister to every taste and fill the 
shops with every article of convenience and luxury 
that New York or Paris can boast of, and at prices 
as cheap as those of the former city to-day ; to find 
homes more luxurious than are often seen in the 
eastern States, and to be challenged unsuccessfully 
to name the city whose ladies dress more magnifi- 
cently than those of San Francisco. 

None of this surprises me. I had large ideas of 
the Pacific Coast and its development ; and I long 
ago gave up being surprised at any victories of the 
American mind and hand over raw American mat- 
ter. Still, Nevada and California, with towns and 
cities of two to fifteen years' growth, yet to-day all 
full-armed in the elements of civilization, wanton 
with the luxuries of the senses, rich in the social 
amenities, supplied with churches and schools and 
libraries, even affecting high art, are wonderful illus- 
trations of the rapidity and ease with which our 
people organize society and State, and surround 
themselves with all the comforts and luxuries of 
metropolitan life. The history of the world else- 
where offers no parallels to these. 

At present, and in comparison with the flush 
times of their first creative years, the States and 
towns of the Pacific Coast are but slov/ly grow- 



l62 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

ing, and business is dull. Many mining towns are 
indeed falling back, if not approaching desertion. 
Founded on temporary interests, — the sands of their 
streams all washed out, they are deserted for fresher 
fields. But new interests, as agriculture and manu- 
factures, and new and closer modes of extracting 
their mineral wealth will sooner or later restore most 
of these ; in some instances are already beginning 
to do so. The general comparative dullness is but 
a natural and temporary reaction from a hot and 
stimulated development. Our great war and its in- 
terests have occupied the Nation's life and thought, 
and centered it in the East, absorbing its capital 
and offering rare opportunities, also, for new indus- 
tries and speculations. California was too far away 
to share in this stimulus ; and by rejecting the na- 
tional currency that was one of its elements, she 
has even denied herself the benefits of its overflow. 
But by drouth in her agriculture, by losses in many 
of her mining operations, by the cessation of the 
heavy tide of emigration, and by the narrow policy 
of her bankers and capitalists, she has been gather- 
ing valuable lessons of experience ; she has learned 
both how to farm and mine ; she has come to appre- 
ciate her great wants of capital and labor ; and she 
fs in fine condition to receive and accept the new 
stimulus, that is already drawing out of her own 
trials a more economical and intelligent prosperity, 
and bringing in a new tide of means and men from 
the East. Farmers may be poor; country mer- 
chants may be bankrupt ; gambling may be at a low 
ebb in the mining towns ; labor comparatively low, 



THE NEVADA SIDE OF THE SIERRAS. 163 

and pan washings unremunerative ; San Francisco 
brokers and bankers may, as is charged, have sucked 
the life out of the interior ; — here, indeed, may rents 
be faUing and houses unoccupied : but the real in- 
dustries of the Pacific Coast were never more pro- 
ductive and promising than now, — never so much, 
in any previous year, of hay and grain ; of vegeta- 
bles and fruit, of gold and silver brought out of tha 
ground, as is and will be in this year of 1865. This 
is the test and promise of prosperity ; and this year 
will date a renewal of life and growth to California 
and its adjacent States, — not so hot and feverish 
and rabid as that of '49 and '50 and '59 and '60, but 
strong enough to satisfy a just ambition, and sure 
enough to encourage permanent investments and 
permanent citizenship, — the real foundations and 
security of a State. 

But to go back on the record of our journey: 
Our last day in Nevada was passed among its pleas- 
antest and richest valleys, under the shadows of the 
Sierra Nevada mountains, and rejoicing in the fer- 
tilizing streams from their springs and snows. Here, 
in the valleys of the Truckee, the Washoe, and the 
Carson, is the garden of the State ; here were a few 
agricultural settlers, fifteen and twenty years ago, 
colonists from Utah, to which all this region was 
originally attached. Now, the Mormons are dis- 
placed by a more vigorous and varied population, 
prosperous with farming, with lumbering among the 
rich pines of the Sierras, and with quartz mills, seek- 
ing proximity here to wood and water, and fed by 
the mines over the hills in Virginia and Gold HilL 



164 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Skirting the hill-sides from Virginia at early 
morning, on a capital toll road, that runs from 
mountain to mountain on a common level, we 
breakfasted at Steamboat Springs, where the phe- 
nomenon of an immense natural tea-kettle is in op- 
eration. For a mile or more along a little stream, 
underneath a thin crust of earth, water immeasura- 
ble is seething and boiling, and occasionally break- 
ing through in columns of steam and in bubbling 
spouts and streams, — too hot to bear the hand in ; 
— the waste drawn off to a neighboring bath-house 
where chronic rheumatisms and blood affections are 
successfully treated, or tempering the cool river be- 
low. The boiling springs are flavored with sulphur 
and soda, and are similar to the more celebrated 
Geysers in California. In the winter the vapor fills 
the valley, and from this and the rumbling, bubbling 
noise of the seething waters, comes the name of 
Steam.boat Springs. Down the valleys we drove 
to Washoe Village and Lake, — here speeches and 
lunch, — and then farther on to Carson City, the 
capital of the young State, where the inevitable 
brass band, a militia company of twelve privates, 
"and nary two alike," more speeches and a dinner 
from Governor Blaisdell were the programme. 

Here we confronted the long-looked-for, the even 
long-seen Sierra Nevadas, the Andes of North 
America, the distinctive range of our Pacific States, 
fountain of their streams, source and bearer of their 
mineral wealth, chief element and parent of their 
beauty of landscape, and replenisher of their fer- 
tilitv of soil. To us, too, long on the desert plain 



THE RIDE OVER THE SIERRAS. 165 

and the barren mountain, — sad-eyed with weeks 
away from forests and sparkhng waters, and the 
verdure of grass and vines and flowers, — they of- 
fered indeed the golden pathway to the Golden 
Gate of the Pacific. 

The ride over the mountains, down their western 
valleys, on to the ocean, was a succession of de- 
lights and surprises. The surging and soughing of 
the wind among the tall pines of the Sierras came 
like sweetest music, laden with memories of home 
and friends and youth. Brass bands begone, operas 
avaunt ! in such presence as we found ourselves on 
the mountain top of a moonlight night, by the banks 
of Lake Tahoe, among forests to which the largest 
of New England are but pigmies, lying and listening 
by the water to the coming of the Pacific breeze 
and its delicate play upon the high tree-tops. All 
human music was but sound and fury signifying 
nothing, before such harmonies of high nature. 
The pines of these mountains are indeed mon- 
sters, — three, four, five feet through, and running 
up to heaven for light, straight and clear as an 
arrow by the hundred feet, — suggestive forerunners 
Qi the ''big trees" of Calaveras and Mariposa, that 
we are yet to see. Rich green-yellow mosses cling 
to many a trunk ; and firs and balsams fill up the 
vacant spots between the kingly pines ; while laugh- 
ing waters sport lustily before our unaccustomed 
eyes, among the rocks in the deep ravines, along 
and far below the road on which our horses gallop 
up hill and down at a fearful pace. 

The initial trip of a little steamer upon Lake 



1 66 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Tahoe (formerly Lake Bigler) was among the nov- 
elties of our mountain experience. This is one of 
the beautiful lakes of the world, richly ranking with 
those of Scotland and Swiss-Italy, and destined to 
arouse as wide enthusiasm. It is located up among 
the mountains, itself six thousand five hundred feet 
high, overlooked by snow-capped peaks, bordered 
by luscious forests ; stretches wide for eight to four- 
teen miles in extent, with waters clear and rare al- 
most as air, — so rare, indeed, that not even a sheet 
of paper can float, but quickly sinks, and swimming 
is nearly impossible ; and abounds in trout : — where, 
indeed, are more elements of lake beauty and at- 
traction } Already, though far from heavy popula- 
tions, it has its mountain and lake hotel, and draws 
many summer visitors from California and Nevada. 
From Lake Tahoe to Placerville, the first consid- 
erable town in California, is seventy-five miles of 
well-graded road, up to the mountain summits, and 
down on the western side ; and the drive over it, 
made in less than seven hours, even surpassed any 
that had gone before in rapidity and brilliancy of 
execution. With six horses, fresh and fast, we 
swept up the hill at a trot, and rolled down again 
at their sharpest gallop, turning abrupt corners 
without a pull-up, twisting among and by the loaded 
teams of freight toiling over into Nevada, and run- 
ning along the edge of high precipices, all as deftly 
as the skater flies or the steam car runs ; though 
for many a moment we held our fainting breath at 
what seemed great risks or dare-devil performances. 
The road is excellent, hard and macadamized, con- 



THE SCENERY OF THE SIERRAS. 16/ 

structcd by private enterprise and imposing heavy 
tolls, and therefore far different from that, whose 
rough remains and steep passages are occasionally 
met on the mountain side, over which Mr. Greeley 
made his famous ride six years ago. 

But there is no stage-riding, no stage-driving, left 
in the States, — I doubt if there ever was any, — at 
all comparable to this in perfection of discipline, in 
celerity and comfort, and in manipulation of the 
reins. Mr. Colfax well said, in one of his speeches, 
that as it was said to require more talent to cross 
Broadway than to be a justice of the peace in the 
country, so he was sure much more was necessary 
to drive a stage down the Sierras as we were driven, 
than to be a member of Congress. For a week, 
at least, we worshiped our knights of the whip. 
Think, too, of a stage-road one hundred miles long, 
from Carson to Placerviile, watered as city streets 
are watered, to lay the dust for the traveler! Yet 
this luxury is performed through nearly the entire 
route, day by day, all the summer season. 

All over the Sierras in our road, the scenery is 
full of various beauty ; some of its features I have 
mentioned ; but another chief one was the high 
walls of rock, rising abruptly and perpendicularly 
from the valley for many hundreds of feet. Many 
a rich boulder, anon a hill, and a frequent mountain 
peak of pure rock, thousands of feet high, like pyr- 
amids of Egypt, are seen along the passage. The 
whole scenery of the Sierras is more like that of 
the Alps than any other in America, and has even 
features of surpassing attraction. 



1 68 ACROSS THE CONTINENT, 

At Placerville, among vineyards and orchards 
and flower gardens, a night ; three speeches from 
Speaker Colfax, and a grand midnight dinner ; — at 
Sacramento, sixty miles hence by a railroad, which 
is seeking the mountains, — a superb breakfast and 
two speeches and more roses, — and thence by 
steamboat, large and elegant as the best of Sound 
and North River boats, and all built in San Fran- 
cisco, through wide grain fields, yellow with harvest 
and sun, we came to refreshing halt in the luxurious 
halls of the Occidental Hotel, of famous Leland 
creation and supervision, late on the last Saturday 
night. 

My memory is crowded with observations in Cal- 
ifornia and Nevada, yet to be compacted for your 
reading ; but the journey cannot wait now for them. 
My steps move faster than my pen. Next Mon- 
day, — after a crowded week of sight-seeing and 
hospitality in San Francisco and vicinity, — we re- 
trace our steps as far as the mountains on a more 
northern route, and thence into the most interesting 
gold-quartz mining region, and on along the valleys 
on the eastern slope of the Sierras north to Oregon^ 
and back, through British Columbia, and by the 
ocean, the first of August. 



LETTER XVII. 

OVERLAND TO OREGON. 



Portland, Oregon, July 20. 

I WAS prepared for California. But Oregon is 
more of a revelation. It has rarer natural beauties, 
richer resources, a larger development, and a more 
promising future than I had learned of The dazzle 
of gold and silver has made California more con- 
spicuous in eastern eyes. Our visit here has there- 
fore had the always delicious element of unexpected- 
ness in its pleasures. There was some rebellious 
flesh among us, when we were told that to see Ore- 
gon we must take another week of day and night 
stage riding ; much of it on rough mountain roads, 
and in a "mud wagon" at that. We thought to 
have been through with that sort of travel. But 
no week's riding has given us greater or richer va- 
riety of experience ; more beauty of landscape; 
more revelation of knowledge ; more pleasure and 
less pain, than this one up through northern Cali- 
fornia and middle Oregon, between the coast moun- 
tains and the Sierra Nevadas. 

Our point of departure was Sacramento, and the 
distance to Portland from there is six hundred and 



I/O ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

fifty miles, due north. Two short bits of railroad 
put us forward in the Sacramento valley about fifty 
miles ; at Oroville we began the stage ride proper, 
up still for another one hundred miles in the broad 
and generally rich and beautiful valley of the Sac- 
ramento and its tributaries, — sometimes rolling in 
waves of earth, then flat and wide as flattest and 
widest of Illinois prairies, often treeless and unculti- 
vated, though not uncultivatable ; and again charm- 
ing with old oak groves, and fruitful with grain fields 
and orchards, that yield an increas-e unknown in all 
eastern or western valleys. At Chico, we took sup- 
per with General Bidwell, one of the pioneers of 
the Pacific Coast, and one of the new members of 
Congress from California. Jilted by a young wo- 
man who chose a lover with more acres, he turned 
rover, and came out here from Missouri as early as 
1 84 1 as one of a secret filibustering party, that in- 
tended to get up a revolution against Mexico, then 
the parent of this region, and join California to the 
then lone star republic of Texas. The scheme was 
fruitless, but General Bidwell became the owner of 
one of the famous Spanish grants of land in the 
richest part of this valley, and now has a farm of 
twenty thousand of its acres, of which one thou- 
sand eight hundred are under cultivation. His crop 
of wheat, in 1863, was thirty-six thousand bushels, 
from nine hundred acres of land, or at the average 
rate of forty bushels to the acre. This is a poorer 
grain year, and his wheat will average but thirty 
bushels per acre. The general average of the val- 
ley is twenty-five bushels. Of barley and oats, his 



JOHN BROWNS FAMILY. I7I 

other principal crops, he usually harvests fifty bush- 
els to the acre. His garden and orchard cover one 
hundred acres. A large flouring mill is among his 
concerns, and its product is the favorite brand of 
the State. Add to these illustrative facts of his 
wealth, and of the beauty and productiveness of 
the country, that General Bidwell still seems a 
young man, is fresh and handsome and of winning 
manners, — a bachelor, and intends to keep house 
in Washington during his congressional term, and 
do I not equally interest farmers, statisticians and 
the ladies of our capital's society ? 

On through a like productive country, crossing 
streams whose banks are lined with an almost trop- 
ical growth of trees and vines, along roads bordered 
with fences and trees, by farms and orchards rich 
in grains and fruits, we make our first night ride, 
passing in the gray morning the prosperous little 
town of Red Bluffs, which is noteworthy as the 
head of navigation on the Sacramento River, — some 
three hundred miles from its mouth, — and so a cen- 
tral point of commerce for all northern California 
and southern Oregon, and as the present home of 
the widow and daughters of the immortal John 
Brown. They straggled in here, weary and poor, 
from their overland journey, but found most hospit- 
able greeting from the citizens and have secured a 
permanent home. A subscription among the Cali- 
fornians generally will give them soon a nice cot- 
tage ; Mrs. Brown earns both love and support as 
a successful nurse and doctor, particularly for chil- 
dren ; her two older daughters are teachers in the 



172 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

public schools ; and the younger one is herself a 
pupil. 

Now the valley grows narrow, the mountains east 
and west chassez across and in among each other, 
and for the remaining two hundred miles of Cali- 
fornia, and the first two hundred of Oregon, we 
are winding among the hills and following up and 
down narrow valleys, first of tributaries of the 
Sacramento, and then of minor though earnest 
streams, — Trinity, Klamath, Rogue and Umpqua, — 
that steal their way, among the now scattered and 
mingling ranges of coast and Sierra Nevada, west 
to the ocean. 

Shasta and Yreka are the two remaining villages 
of importance in California, with perhaps fifteen 
hundred inhabitants each. Born of rich placer gold 
diggings in neighboring valleys and gulches, but 
bereft of half of their former population by the 
discovery of more tempting fields elsewhere, and 
the inherent migratory character of gold seekers, 
they present a sad array of unoccupied stores and 
houses, like, indeed, to nearly every other of the in- 
terior mining towns of California. Their second 
reactionary stage now seems beginning, however; 
a more careful and intelligent working of the gold 
sands and banks proves them still profitable, — in 
some cases richly so ; the Chinese are coming in 
to work over the neglected courses, satisfied with 
smaller returns than the whites ; and best of all, 
agriculture, hitherto despised, is asserting its legiti- 
mate place as the base of all true and steady pros- 
perity. The valleys, though small, are fruitful, and 



MOUNT SHASTA. 1 73 

many of the hill-sides are equally rich for grain and 
fruit. These hills of northern California and south- 
ern Oregon seem, indeed, the true home of apple, 
pear and grape, and are sure to have a large place 
in the future fruit-growing and wine-making pros- 
perity of the Pacific Coast. 

Beyond Shasta, just out of the valley, we stopped 
to dine at a most inviting hotel, amid garden and 
orchard of great fruitfulness, which I found to be 
"The Tower House," and the proprietor Mr. Levi 
H. Tower, whom you Springfield people of fifteen 
and twenty years' residence will remember as a 
prominent armorer, foreman of the Eagle Engine 
Company, and a popular young man, up to 1849, 
when he cast in his fortunes with the first emi- 
gration to California. After years of the ups and 
downs that belong to nearly every experience on 
this Coast, he has become prosperous, and grown 
stout, but keeps his Springfield memories green, 
and is yet a bachelor. Two of his sisters and a 
brother-in-law live upon his place. He owns a toll- 
road over the mountain, and his orchard, only five 
years old, produced last year three thousand bushels 
of peaches, one thousand five hundred bushels of 
apples, and grapes by the ton, for which he finds 
market among the miners in the mountains around, 
and in the villages north and south. 

Along here, individual mountains assumed a rare 
majesty ; snow peaks were visible, ten thousand and 
eleven thousand feet high ; and soon, too, Mount 
Shasta, monarch of the Sierras in northern Cali- 
fornia, reared its lofty crown of white, conspicuous 



174 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

among hills of five thousand and six thousand feet, 
both for its vast fields of snow, its perfect shape, 
and its hight of fourteen thousand four hundred 
feet above the sea level. We saw it from various 
points and all sides, and everywhere it was truly a 
King of the Mountains, and is entitled to rank 
among the first dozen mountain peaks of the world. 
Jacksonville was the first conspicuous town in 
Oregon, and showed obvious first-cousinship to 
Yreka and Shasta. But its neighboring gold dig- 
gings made better r.eport ; many of the five hund- 
red men engaged upon them in the county were 
very prosperous, and all were making good wages ; 
promising quartz mines were also discovered ; and 
we found, everywhere almost in these mountain 
counties of northern California and southern Ore- 
gon, gathering evidences of much gold yet un- 
crushed or undug, that would still form the basis, 
with cheaper and more abundant labor and capital, 
of a large population and a new material growth 
for this region. The northern county of California 
(Siskiyou) counts no fewer than two thousand Chi- 
nese among its population, and of these, eleven 
hundred are engaged in gold digging, from whom 
as foreigners the State gathers a tax of four dollars 
a month each, or from fifty thousand to sixty thou- 
sand dollars a year. That they pay this enormous 
tribute, and still keep at work, shows well enough 
that it pays them to wash and re-wash the golden 
sands of these valleys. 

The scenery of this region is full of various beauty. 
Of conspicuous single objects, Pilot Knob, a great 



THE TREES AND THE MISTLETOE. 1 75 

chunk of bare rock standing on a mountain top, 
ranks next to Mount Shasta; it must be eight 
hundred to one thousand feet high in itself, and 
seen from all quarters, it has been famous as a pilot 
to the early emigrants in their journey across the 
mountains. The hills are rich with pine forests, 
and these grow thicker and the trees larger and of 
greater variety, as also the valleys widen and seem 
more fertile, as the road progresses into Oregon. 
Firs rival the pines and grow to similar size, one 
hundred and two hundred feet high and three to 
five feet in diameter. Farther up in Oregon, about 
the Columbia River, the fir even dominates, and is 
the chief timber, and specimens of it are recorded 
that are twelve feet through and three hundred feet 
high ! The oak, too, has its victories in the valleys, 
and we ride through groves and parks of it that are 
indescribably beautiful. That fascinating parasite 
of British classics, the mistletoe, appears also, and 
shrouds the branches of the oak with its rich, ten- 
der green, and feeds on its rugged life. Many an 
oak had succumbed to the greedy bunch boughs of 
the mistletoe, that fastened themselves upon it, and 
despite its beauty and the sentimental reputation it 
brings to us from British poets, I came to shrink 
from its touch and sight. More graceful and invit- 
ing and less absorbing of life, — rather token of 
death, — was the pendant Spanish moss, hanging 
gray and sere and sad from the pine branches and 
trunks, along our way in southern Oregon. 

The birch, the ash, the spruce, the arbor vitae, 
and the balsam, all contribute to these forests. 



176 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

But they do not rob your Connecticut valley of its 
precious elms ; to their individual beauty no tree 
here can offer successful rivalry. In aggregates, 
however, for forests of trees, for size and beauty of 
pines and spruces and firs, for amount and quality 
of timber as timber, and for groves of oaks, there 
can be no competition in the East to the Sierra 
Nevadas and the Coast Mountains and their inter- 
mediate valleys in California and Oregon. They 
become the perpetual wonder and admiration and 
enthusiasm of the traveler. 

The cross valleys of the Rogue and Umpqua 
rivers present many rich fields for culture. The 
soil is a gravelly loam, warm and fertile, and more 
favorable for fruits, especially the grape and the 
peach, than the more northern valleys of Oregon. 
But the way to market is long and hard ; and the 
products of agriculture here must mainly go out to 
the world on the hoof or in wool. So that the 
temptation to the farmer is not yet very strong. 
Yet we found a fev/ rich farms and prosperous gen- 
tleman farmers. "Joe" Lane, famous in Oregon 
politics, lives in one of these valleys ; his occupa- 
tion of public life is gone ; he fell out with a por- 
tion of his own party, and was put out by the up- 
rising volume of loyal and anti-slavery sentiment, 
wherein he has never shown any sympathy. He 
was an able but low, coarse and groveling politi- 
cian. 

A man of another description and history is Mr. 
Jesse Applegate, whose fame as an old pioneer, 
an honest, intelligent gentleman, incorruptible in 



JESSE APPLEGATE, A PIONEER. I// 

thought and act, and the maker of good cider, kept 
increasing as we neared his home in the Umpqua ; 
and we made bold to stop and tell him we had come 
to see him and eat our breakfast out of his larder. 
We did all to our supreme satisfaction, finding a 
vigorous old man, who had been here twenty-five 
years, participated largely in the growth and history 
of the country, and the conversion of its people to 
right political principles ; clear and strong and 
original in thought and its expression, with views 
upon our public affairs worthy the heed of our 
wisest ; every way, indeed, such a man as you won- 
der to find here in the woods, rejoice to find any- 
where, and hunger to have in his rightful position, 
conspicuous in the government. Oregon ought 
surely to send Jesse Applegate to Washington, and 
the general testimony is that she would, were he 
not so implacably hostile to all the helping arts of 
politician and place-seeker, which is of course only 
another reason why she should do what she yet 
does not. Mr. Applegate has sent his three sons 
to the war, and remains in their place to carry on 
his farm of two thousand acres. But farming here, 
he says, is but a cheap, careless process ; labor is so 
dear, and grain grows so easily, and the market is 
so distant, that there is no incentive for real culti- 
vation and care, in the business. Grass grows nat- 
urally, abundantly ; timothy seed thrown upon the 
unbroken soil, gives the best of permanent mowing ; 
and so mild are the winters, and so abundant the 
feed upon hill and plain, that even that is only im- 
proved as a precaution against exceptional snow. 



178 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Though he feeds cattle by the hundreds and thou- 
sands, he has now one hundred and twenty-five 
tons of hay that he cut two years ago, but for which 
he has had no use. 

Two days and a night of rough riding from Jack- 
sonville over rather unmilitary roads, built some 
years ago by the since famous General Hooker, 
brought us out, of a sweet, June-like afternoon, 
upon the hill that overlooks the head of the Wil- 
lamette (Wil-/^;;/-ette) Valley. Here the mountain 
ranges cease their mazy dancing together, and take 
their places east and west, feeding a river that runs 
midway north one hundred and twenty-five miles to 
the Columbia River, and watering a valley through 
that length and for fifty miles wide. This is the 
Willamette River and valley, — the garden of Ore- 
gon, — itself Oregon; that which led emigrants 
here years before the gold discoveries on the Pa- 
cific Coast ; the holder of nearly two-thirds of all 
the inhabitants of the State ; the chief source of its 
present strength and prosperity, and its sure secu- 
rity for the future ; lifting it above the uncertainties 
of mining, and giving guaranty of stability, intelli- 
gence and comfort to its people. 

We were led down into this indeed paradisiacal 
valley through richest groves of oak ; the same are 
scattered along the foot hills on either side, or peo- 
ple the swelling hills that occasionally vary the 
prairie surface of its central lines ; while the river, 
strong and free and navigable through the whole 
valley a part of the year, and through the lower 
half at all times, furnishes a deep belt of forest 



THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY. 1/9 

through the very middle of the valley. Never be- 
held I more fascinating theater for rural homes; 
never seemed more fitly united natural beauty and 
practical comforts; fertility of soil and variety of 
surface and production ; never were my bucolic in- 
stincts more deeply stirred than in this first outlook 
upon the Willamette valley. The soil is a strong, 
clayey, vegetable loam, on a hardpan bottom, hold- 
ing manures firmly, and yielding large crops of the 
small grains, apples and- potatoes. Wheat and ap- 
ples are the two great crops at present ; much of 
the improved land being set out with apple or- 
chards, that come into full bearing in from two to 
three years after planting. Wool and beef are, 
also, as in the lower valleys, leading items in the 
agricultural wealth of the Willamette. The hills 
and valleys of interior Oregon furnish almost in- 
exhaustible and continuous pasture grounds. The 
spring is too cold and wet for peaches ; the summer 
nights are too cold for corn, though it is grown to 
a limited degree ; but Isabella and Catawba grapes 
ripen perfectly ; it is the home of the cherry ; and 
pears, plums and all .the small berries reach high 
perfection. The average yield of wheat in the val- 
ley is twenty-five bushels to the acre ; but fifty is 
often obtained with careful cultivation. 

Though this valley supports a population of fifly 
thousand by agriculture only, probably not one- 
tenth of its area has yet felt the plow, and certainly 
not over one-half is under fence. Its best lands 
can be bought for from five to twenty-five dollars 
an acre, depending upon improvements, and near- 



l80 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

ness to villages and river. Only specially favored 
farms go higher, as some do to fifty and even one 
hundred dollars an acre. Much of the farming is 
unwisely done ; the farms are generally too large, 
the original locations being mostly of six hundred 
and forty acres each ; and the agricultural popula- 
tion are largely Missourians, Kentuckians and Ten- 
nesseeans, of that class who are forever moving 
farther west, and only stop here because there is 
no beyond but the ocean. The eastern men proper 
in Oregon, of whom there are indeed many, are 
mostly in the villages and towns, leaders in trade, 
and commerce, and manufactures, as well as in the 
professions. 

The agriculture of Oregon knows no such draw- 
back and doubt as the long summer drouths, that 
hang over that of all the rest of the country west 
of the Rocky Mountains, and render expensive 
irrigation a necessity to certainty in culture. Her 
fertile region, — so made fertile, indeed, — between 
the Coast Mountains and the Sierras, or the Cas- 
cades, as the interior range of mountains is called 
in Oregon, is abundantly supplied with rain the 
year round. There is enough in summer to ripen 
the crops, and not too much to interfere with har- 
vesting; and the winter is one long shower ot 
six months. The Californians call their northern 
neighbors the Web Feet ; and from all account there 
is something too much of rain and mud during the 
winter season ; but the fertility and perfection 
which its agriculture enjoys in consequence leave 
the practical side of the joke with the Oregonians. 



THE TOWNS OF THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY. l8l 

There is no snow in the valleys of middle and 
western Oregon; only rain and mist deaden' the 
dormant season ; but February is usually a clear 
and warm month, and the work of the farmer then 
actively begins. The summers are long and favor- 
able, with warm days but cool nights, — more en- 
durable for the human system than New England 
summers, and kinder for all vegetation, with the 
single exception, perhaps, of Indian corn. The 
average temperature of the Willamette valley for 
the six summer months is from sixty-five to sev- 
enty, and of the six winter months from forty to 
forty-five degrees. And grass grows through all 
the so-called winter. 

Eugene City, Corvallis, Albany, Salem, Oregon 
City and Portland are the chief centers of popula- 
tion in the Willamette valley, in the order in which 
we passed them, coming down to the Columbia. Sa- 
lem is the State capital, and is a beautifully located, 
thriving, inland town. Here our party had a state 
reception ; here I met our old democratic brother 
editor of Westfield, Massachusetts, Mr. Asahel 
Bush, who has made a fortune here, and wielded 
large power in the politics of the State, dethroning 
on the Douglas breach Joe Lane as senator, but 
failing to keep progressing in the right direction, is 
now himself dethroned by the Union and republican 
possession of the State, and is in retirement from 
newspaper and business, and meditating eastern 
migration ; here, too, Mr. Reuben Boies, of Bland- 
ford origin and Chicopee residence, has grown 
into just distinction, and is one of the supreme 



1 82 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

judges of the State, but has his present residence 
on a beautiful farm in one of the neighboring foot- 
hills, where also he has erected and put in success- 
ful operation a woolen mill ; — and from here, also, 
we took steamboat passage, fifty miles, to this town, 
the commercial and business center of the State, 
half rival to San Francisco itself, and the only other 
town, indeed, of prominence on the Pacific Coast, 
that shows signs of steady, uninterrupted prosper- 
ity at this moment. At Oregon City, on our way 
hither, we paid respect to the original capital of 
the Territory, inspected a new and extensive woolen 
mill that cost seventy-five thousand dollars in gold, 
and were railroaded around the falls of the Willam- 
ette, which, though not a brilliant feature in the 
natural scene, offer temptations and almost inex- 
haustible water-power for the manufactures that 
the agricultural productions of the State invite, and 
the enterprise of its citizens is already wisely and 
eagerly reaching forward to. 

Portland, by far the largest town of Oregon, 
stands sweetly on the banks of the Willamette, 
twelve miles before it joins the Columbia River, 
and one hundred and twenty miles from where the 
Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean. Ships and ocean 
steamers of highest class come readily hither ; from 
it spreads out a wide navigation by steamboat of 
the Columbia and its branches, below and above; 
here centers a large and increasing trade, not only 
for the Willamette valley, but for the mining regions 
of eastern Oregon and Idaho, Washington Territory 
on the north, and parts even of British Columbia. 



PORTLAND AND ITS PEOPLE, 1 83 

Even Salt Lake, too, has taken groceries and dry 
goods through this channel, and may yet find it ad- 
vantageous to buy more and continuously ; such are 
the attainted and attainable water communications 
through the far-extending Columbia. 

The population of Portland is about seven thou- 
sand ; they keep Sunday as we do in New England, 
and as no other population this side of the Mis- 
souri now does ; and real estate, as you may infer, 
is quite high, — four hundred dollars a front foot for 
best lots one hundred feet deep on the main busi- 
ness street, without the buildings. In religion, the 
Methodists have the lead, and control an academic 
school in town and a professed State university at 
Salem ; the Presbyterians are next with a beautiful 
church and the most fashionable congregation, and 
favor a struggling university under Rev. S. H. 
Marsh, (son of President Marsh of the Vermont 
university,) located twenty miles off in the valley ; 
perhaps the Catholics rank third, with a large Sis- 
ters of Charity establishment and school within the 
city. Governor Gibbs, the present chief magistrate 
of the State, resides here, and though a lawyer, owns 
and runs a successful iron foundry that imports its 
material from England, though undeveloped iron 
mines are thick in neighboring hills ; — a single 
daily paper has two thousand five hundred circula- 
tion, with a weekly edition of three thousand more ; 
and altogether Portland has the air and the fact of 
a prosperous, energetic town, with a good deal of 
eastern leadership and tone to business and society 
and morals. 



LETTER XVIII. 

THE COLUMBIA RIVER— ITS SCENERY AND ITS 
COMMERCE. 



Portland, Oregon, July 23. 

When an enthusiastic Oregonian told me the 
Columbia River was the largest of the Continent, 
and watered a wider section of country than any 
other, I thought of the St. Lawrence and the Mis- 
sissippi, and smiled with mild incredulity. But 
unroll your map, and trace its course into the heart 
of this north-western interior, through the Cascade 
Mountains, back into the great basin between them 
and the Rocky Mountains, and then, by its main 
branches, stretching up north and v/inding out 
through all British Columbia, and south and west 
into Idaho and over into the bowels of the Rocky 
Mountains, touching with its fingers all the vast 
area north of the great desert basin and west of 
the Rocky Mountains ; then sail with me up and 
down its mile and a half wide sweep of majestic 
volume, at the distance of one hundred and fifty 
miles above its mouth ; see what steamboats already 
navigate its waters, and the points to which they 
reach ; and listen to the wide plans of the naviga- 



THE SCENERY OF THE COLUMBIA. 1 85 

tors for the use of its most distant upper waters, 
in British Columbia and Idaho, — sapping the very 
vitals of British dominion in the North-west, and 
practically tapping the Pacific railroad as it comes 
west at Salt Lake for the benefit of Portland and 
Oregon, — do all this, and we will make our bow to- 
gether to the Oregonians and their great river. 

Only more full surveys can determine the literal 
correctness of their claims to superior vastness ; the 
Columbia, with its chief division, the Snake, may 
be anywhere from twelve hundred to two thousand 
miles in length ; — but that it ranks among the three 
or four great rivers of the world, and that it is the 
key to vast political and commercial questions and 
interests, — -giving to its line the elements of a pow- 
erful rivalry to the great central commercial route 
of our Continent, of which San Francisco is the 
Pacific terminus, — no one who examines its posi- 
tion and extent, and witnesses the various capacity 
of the territory it waters, can for a moment doubt. 

As yet, however, the Columbia is most known 
abroad for the rare beauty and majesty of the 
scenery developed by its passage through the great 
Andean range of north-western America. Alone 
of all the rivers of the West has it broken these 
stern barriers, and the theater of the conquering 
conflict offers, as might naturally be supposed, many 
an unusual feature of nature. River and rock have 
striven together, wrestling in close and doubtful em- 
brace, — sometimes one gaining ascendancy, again 
the other, but finally the subtler and more seductive 
element worrying its rival out, and gaining the 



l86 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

western sunshine, broken and scarred and foaming 
with hot sweat, but proudly victorious, and forcing 
the withdrawing arms of its opponent to hold up 
eternal monuments of its triumph. 

To witness these scenes has been the main pur- 
pose and chief pleasure of a two days' excursion up 
the stream from Portland. Startiaig at early morn- 
ing on a steamboat as capacious and comfortable as 
the best of those on eastern rivers, and with a com- 
pany of the leading citizens of Oregon, we soon 
turned out of the Willamette (twelve miles), and 
steamed up the broad, deep current of the Colum- 
bia. Near at hand was Vancouver, a famous spot 
in this valley, first as a leading station of the Hud- 
son Bay Company for many years, and since and 
now as the chief military station of the United 
States in the interior North-west. Here many of 
our prominent military men have served appren- 
ticeship, — Grant, Hooker, McClellan and Ingles 
among them. They are all well remembered in 
the days of their captaincies here by the old inhab- 
itants. Grant was the same quiet, close-mouthed 
man then as now, but gave no indication of that 
great mastery of himself and of others, that he has 
within these few years so nobly, and to such high 
purpose, demonstrated. It was while here that he 
left the army originally, to come back to it in the 
hour of the Nation's need, a new and nobler man. 
The present arrangement of the quarters and offices 
of the post vv'as made under Colonel Ingles' admin- 
istration, and is both generous and tasteful. It is 
evidently both a favorite and comfortable military 



THE CASCADES AND THE DALLES. 1 87 

post, and continues to be, as it long has been, one 
of the "soft places" in the army on this Coast. 

Fifty miles of steaming up through heavily wood- 
ed banks brought'us to the foot-hills of the Cascade 
Mountains, and soon we were upon the charmed 
ground. High walls of basaltic rock rose slowly 
on either side; huge boulders, thrown off in the 
convulsion of water with mountain, lie lower down 
the valley, or stand out in the stream, — one so large, 
rising in rough egg shape some thousand feet up 
into the air, as to become a conspicuous and memo- 
rable element in the landscape. The river gets too 
fast here, at the Cascades, as they are called, for 
farther progress by boat; we change to a railway 
of five miles, along rock and river, at the end of 
which we come to navigable waters again, and find, 
to our surprise, another large, and equally luxurious 
steamer. During these five miles of the Cascades, 
the river makes a descent of forty feet, half of it 
in one mile, but it takes the form of rough and 
rocky rapids, and not of one distinct, measurable 
fall. The second boat took us from the Upper Cas- 
cades to the Dalles, forty-five miles, all the way 
through the mountains. The waters narrow and 
run swift and harsh; the rocks grow higher and 
sharper ; and their architecture, by fire and water, 
assumes noble and massive forms. The dark, ba- 
saltic stones lie along in even layers, seamed as in 
the walls of human structure ; then they change to 
upright form, and run up in well-rounded columns, 
one after another, one above another. Often is 
rich simihtude to ruined castles of the Rhine; 



1 88 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

more frequently, fashions and forms, too massive, 
too majestic, too unique for human ambition and 
art to aspire to. Where the clear rock retires, 
and sloping sides invite, verdure springs strong, 
and forests, as thick and high as in the valleys, fill 
the landscape. 

At the Dalles lies the second town in Oregon, 
bearing the name of The Dalles, and holding a 
population of twenty-five hundred. It is the en- 
trepot for the scattered mines in eastern Oregon, for 
we are now on the eastern slopes of the mountains, 
and very much also for the Boise and Owyhee mines 
in Idaho. The miners come in here to winter, send 
there earnings in here, and buy here many of their 
supplies. Two millions dollars in gold dust came 
in here from eastern Oregon and Idaho in the sin- 
gle month of June last. The town is ambitious of 
that unnecessary adjunct, a mint, and the Oregon 
politicians have even wheedled Congress out of a 
preliminary appropriation for one. 

The Dalles marks another interruption to the 
navigation of the river, and another railway portage 
of fifteen miles is in use. The entire water of the 
Colunibia is compressed for a short distance into 
a space only one hundred and sixty feet wide. 
Through this it pours with a rapidity and a depth, 
that give majestic, fearful intensity to its motion ; 
while interfering rocks occasionally throw the 
stream into rich masses of foam. Throucrh these 
second rapids of fifteen miles, the rock scenery at 
first rises still higher and sharper, and then fast 
grows tame; the mountains begin to slink away 



FUN ON THE STEAMBOAT. 1 89 

and to lose their trees ; the famihar barrenness of 
the great interior basin reappears ; and the only 
beauty of the hills is their richly rounded forms, 
often repeated, and their only utility pasturage for 
sheep and horses and cattle. The fifteen miles of 
railway, which, with the lower portage of five miles, 
are built as permanently, and served as thoroughly, 
with the best of locomotives and cars, as any rail- 
roads in the country, landed us on still another 
large and luxurious steamboat, — " and still the won- 
der grew," — built far up here beyond the moun- 
tains, but with every appointment of comfort and 
luxury that are found in the best of eastern river 
craft, — large state-rooms, long and wide cabins, va- 
rious and well-served meals. From this point (Ce- 
lilo), there is uninterrupted navigation, and daily or 
tri-weekly steamers running, to Umatilla, eighty-five 
miles, Wallula, one hundred and ten miles, and to 
White Bluffs, one hundred and sixty miles, farther 
up the stream. For six months in the year, boats 
can and do run away on to Lewiston, on the Snake 
River branch of the Columbia, which is two hun- 
dred and seventy miles beyond Celilo, or five hun- 
dred miles from the mouth of the Columbia, as 
White Bluffs, the head of navigation on the main 
river, is four hundred miles from the mouth. 

We spent the night on the boat at Celilo, and 
during the evening the most of the party went 
back by rail to The Dalles for speeches to the peo- 
ple from Speaker Colfax and Governor Bross. One 
of the best bits of fun on our journey was impro- 
vised on their return late in the night. Those who 



190 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

had remained on the boat suddenly emerged from 
their state-rooms, wrapped in the drapery in which 
they had laid themselves down to sleep, and pro- 
ceeded to give formal welcome to the entering 
party. Mr. Richardson addressed the Speaker in 
an amusing travestie of some familiar points in 
his own speeches. Mr. Colfax seized the joke, and 
replied a la Richardson with equal effectiveness. 
The whole scene and performance was picturesque 
and amusing in the highest degree ; and the cabin 
resounded with boisterous laughter from all sides. 

The next morning, we proceeded thirty or forty 
miles still farther up the river, till we had got be- 
yond all traces of the collision of the stream with 
the mountain, and the scenery grew tame and com- 
mon. Then we turned back, having reached a 
point two hundred and sixty miles above the mouth 
of the river, and retraced our passage through the 
mountains, renewing our worship and our wonder 
before the strange and beautiful effects produced 
by this piercing of these eternal hills by this ma- 
jestic river of the West. As a whole, I know no 
like scenery so grand, so beautiful. It has much 
of the distinguishing elements of the Hudson in 
its Palisades, of the Rhine in its embattled, precip- 
itous and irregularly shaped sides, and of the Up- 
per Mississippi in its overhanging cliffs. Each of 
these holds a beauty that is not here ; but the Co- 
lumbia aggregates more than any one the elements 
of impressiveness, of picturesque majesty, of won- 
der-working, powerful nature. I was more enthu- 
siastic over each of those rivers ; I saw them with 



MOUNT HOOD. I9I 

younger and less weary eyes; but this convinces 
my intellect of its superiority. There is, however, 
a general uniformity in its characteristics; one five 
miles repeats another; and once seen, you are in- 
different as to a second sight, — before ;iext year, or 
unless with the accompaniment of new and be- 
loved eyes. 

A distinguishing feature in the landscape of this 
ride up the Columbia, — apart from it, yet bounding 
it, shadowing it, yet enkindling it with highest 
majesty and beauty,— is Mount Hood. This is the 
great snow peak of Oregon, its Shasta, its Rainier, 
its Mount Blanc. Lying off twenty or thirty miles 
south of the river, in its passage through the moun- 
tains, it towers high above all its fellows, and is 
seen, now through their gorges, and again at the 
end of apparent long plains, leading up to it from 
the river. Most magnificent views of it are ob- 
tained through nearly all the sail up and down from 
Portland. That which Bierstadt has chosen for its 
perpetuation on canvas, and which is thus familiar 
to eastern eyes, is the most complete and impress- 
ive, and is recognized upon the steamboat. In it, 
the mountain seems to rise, apart, OLt from an up- 
ward-going plain, snow-covered from base to sum- 
mit, oppressive in its majesty, beautiful in form, 
angelic in its whiteness, — the union of all that is 
great and pure and impressive. Various bights are 
claimed for Hood, from twelve thousand to eighteen 
thousand five hundred feet ; but it is not at all likely 
that it exceeds twelve thousand or thirteen thou- 
sand feet, or less than Shasta in northern California, 



192 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

and less, also, than Rainier and Adams in Washing- 
ton Territory. 

There is some rivalry among the neighbors of 
these great snow peaks of the north-western United 
States as to which is the highest. There are four 
or five of them from eleven thousand to fifteen thou- 
sand feet each, and the last one the traveler beholds 
seems to him not only the highest but the most 
beautiful, so engrossing is the view. But the most 
reliable measurements give Shasta the palm at four- 
teen thousand four hundred and forty feet, and, until 
within a year, made it the highest m.ountain peak 
in the United States. Last season, however, the 
explorations of the California Geological Survey 
brought to knowledge a series of rare snow-cov- 
ered and granite peaks, among the Sierra Nevadas 
in southern California and Nevada, one or two of 
which, at least, mount higher than Shasta, and, for 
the present at least, may claim to be the highest 
land in the Nation. One of these peaks was called 
Mount Tyndall, and is about fourteen thousand five 
hundred feet high ; and another, the very highest, 
is named Mount Whitney for the head of the Ge- 
ological Survey of California, and is at least fifteen 
thousand feet high. 

But no mountain peak we have yet passed in our 
journey is seen to so fine advantage as Mount Hood 
from the Columbia River, — it is hard to imagine a 
more magnificent snow mountain ; and adding this 
crowning element to the scenery of the Columbia 
River, it is probably just to say of it, that this ex- 
cursion offers more of natural beauty and wonder 



THE OREGON STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY. 1 93 

to interest and excite the traveler, than any other 
single journey or scene which the Pacific Coast 
presents, except the Yosemite valley. That must, 
of course, stand first, unrivaled and unapproachable. 
But to this I give the second place. 

The navigation of the Columbia River is now in 
the hands of a strong and energetic company, that 
not only have the capacity to improve all its present 
opportunities, but the foresight to seek out and cre- 
ate new ones. They are, indeed, making new paths 
in the wilderness, and show more comprehension 
of the situation and purpose to develop it than any 
set of men I have yet met on the Pacific Coast. 
Organized in 1861, with property worth one hun- 
dred and seventy-five thousand dollars, they have 
now, with eighteen or twenty first class steamboats, 
the two railroads around the Cascades and The 
Dalles, and their appointments, warehouses at all 
the principal towns on the river, including one nine 
hundred and thirty-five feet long at Cellilo, and real 
estate in preparation for future growth, a total prop- 
erty of rising two millions dollars, all earned from 
their business. Besides this great increase of 
wealth from their own enterprise, they have paid 
to themselves in dividends three hundred and 
thirty-two thousand seven hundred and fifty dol- 
lars. With wagon roads from The Dalles, from Um- 
atilla, and from Wallula, the river and their boats 
have formed and still form the cheapest and quick- 
est route for travel or freight from all parts of the 
Coast to the rich mines of Boise and Owyhee in 
Idaho, as well as to those in eastern Oregon. Boise 
Q ■ n 



194 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

City is two hundred and sixty miles from Umatilla 
and Owyhee two hundred and ninety miles. The 
roads from the other points are longer and poorer. 
So large have been the travel and trade in this di- 
rection in the last few years, that the Oregon steam 
navigation company has carried to the Upper Co- 
lumbia sixty thousand three hundred and twenty 
tons in the last four years, beginning with six thou- 
sand tons in 1862 and rising to nearly twenty-two 
thousand tons in 1864. In the same time, their 
boats have carried up and down on the river nearly 
one hundred thousand passengers, increasing from 
ten thousand in 1861 to thirty-six thousand in 1864. 
California has at last aroused to the importance 
of securing this trade, if possible, for herself, and is 
opening shorter wagon routes to Idaho by way of 
Chico and Red Bluffs in the upper Sacramento val- 
ley, and through Nevada by the Humboldt valley ; 
but the Oregon people are still likely to keep the 
larger share of the traffic, for their route, though 
longer, is very much by water, and so cheaper, safer 
and pleasanter. The Oregon navigation company 
are also busy with plans for improving their own 
route. By opening a road one hundred and ten 
miles long, across a wide bend of unnavigable 
sections of the Snake River, from Wallula to the 
mouth of the Powder River, they will again find 
the Snake River navigable for one hundred and 
fifty to two hundred miles farther up its course, 
or into the very heart of the Owyhee and Boise 
gold basins, and on beyond towards Utah. Then 
from this n'ew head of navigation on the Snake 



OREGON S PACIFIC RAILROAD CUT-OFF. I95 

River, to Salt Lake, is but one hundred or one 
hundred and fifty miles more ; so that with wagon 
roads of less than three hundred miles, steam navi- 
gation may soon be secured all the way from Salt 
Lake to the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. Substitute 
for these wagon roads a railway, or, leaving out the 
navigation of the upper Snake, and building a rail- 
road five hundred and fifty rniles across from Salt 
Lake through the gold regions of Idaho to Wallula, 
whence is uninterrupted navigation down the Co- 
lumbia, and the Pacific Coast is reached by steam 
through Oregon with less than two-thirds the rail- 
road building required for the central route into 
San Francisco. The line for this suggested road 
is easy, crossing the Blue Mountains in eastern 
Oregon by a very favorable pass, and avoiding by 
the Columbia River the great work of surmounting 
the Sierra Nevadas. These are important, preg- 
nant suggestions. The Oregon navigation com- 
pany is impressed with their significance, and will 
next spring construct a steamboat on ' the upper 
Snake for testing the practicability of that point 
in the programme. They mean at least to hold 
their superiority in the commerce of Idaho, and if 
the Central Pacific railway interest does not push 
on its work with alacrity, the despised Oregonians 
may yet show their heels to their California neigh- 
bors in the matter of the quickest and cheapest 
route for travel and freight from the Rocky Moun- 
tains to the Coast. ' 

So at the North, into the heart of British Colum- 
bia, the Oregon steamboat company are working 



196 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

out a notable plan for extending their operations. 
By building a wagon portage of one hundred and 
fifty miles north from White Bluffs, the present 
head of navigation on the main stream of the Co- 
lumbia, cutting ofi a wide and impassable angle of 
the river, the stream is again struck at a navigable 
point close to the forty-ninth parallel, and steamers 
can be run from there one hundred and fifty to two 
hundred miles north through the series of lakes 
into which the river widens in that region, away up 
to the fifty-second and fifty-third parallels, where 
steamboats were never heard of or thought of, and 
into the now most famous gold region of British 
Columbia, the Carriboo country. The steamboat 
company are already building a steamer in this 
double upper Columbia, and next season will prob- 
ably be enabled to inaugurate this capital idea and 
illustration of their enterprise. Now the Carriboo 
mines are only reached by way of Victoria, Frazer 
River, and three hundred to five hundred miles of 
rough land travel. This new route will bring them 
into quick and cheap communication with American 
markets and American impulses at Portland. 

In this and other ways, Oregon and its people 
make a pleasant and promising impression upon 
us. They lack many of the advantages of their 
neighbors below; their agriculture is less varied, 
but it is more sure; mining .has not poured such 
irregular and intoxicating wealth into their laps; 
they need, as well, a more thorough farming and a 
more varied industry ; they need, also, as well, in- 
telligent, patient labor and larger capital; but they 



OREGON, PRESENT AND PROSPECTIVE 1 97 

have builded what they have got more slowly and 
more wisely than the Californians ; they have less 
severe reaction from hot and unhealthy growth to 
encounter, — less to unlearn ; and they seem sure, 
not of organizing the first State on the Pacific 
Coast, indeed, but of a steadily prosperous, healthy 
and moral one, — they are in the way to be the New 
England of the Pacific Coast. Just now, new and 
exciting discoveries of placer gold have been made 
among the head waters of the John Day branch of 
the Columbia River, in south-eastern Oregon, and 
extensive improvements are being developed among 
the quartz mines of the western slopes of the Sierra 
Nevadas, just off from the Willamette valley; and 
capital and labor are hastening in both directions : 
but while there is much to hope from these promises 
and investments, there is also something to fear for 
the real growth of the State. The uncertainty, the 
recklessness, the gambling habit which the varied 
and fickle results of gold mining throw over the 
whole business and morals and manners of a com- 
munity, that is possessed by the passion, are very 
great obstacles to a real and permanent prosperity, 
and growth in high civilization. May Oregon steady 
itself, or be steadied by sufficiently early failure, 
against such dangers as California's experience has 
thrown around her condition as a State. 



LETTER XIX. 

THROUGH WASHINGTON TERRITORY. 



Olympia, W. T., July 26. 

Unless you have been studying geography 
lately, you will need to open your map to follow 
us in our journey northward. So near the north- 
western limit of the Republic and not to touch it ; 
so close to John Bull and not to shake his grim 
paw, and ask him what he thinks of the preposter- 
ous Yankees now ; so near to that rarely beautiful 
sheet of water, Puget Sound, and not to sail through 
it, and know its commercial capacities and feel its 
natural attractions, — it would never do. So, two 
days ago, we put out of Portland, steamed down 
the Columbfa for fifty miles, and up its Cowlitz 
branch for two miles (all it is now navigable), and 
landed on the Washington Territory side at two 
houses and a stage wagon, bearing the classic name 
of Monticello. Jefferson was not at home; but 
there was a good dinner. with Mr. Burbank, scion 
of your northern Berkshire Burbanks ; testifying, 
like all the rest of these border settlers, away from 
schools and churches and society, that there was no 
such other country anywhere, and that you could 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON TERRITORY. I99 

not drive them back to the snows and cold winters 
of "the States." 

The next question was, how to put eleven passen- 
gers in an open v/agon that only held seven, for a 
ninety-mile and two-day drive across the Territory. 
It was successfully achieved by putting three of 
them on saddle horses; and off we bounced into 
the woods at the rate of three to four miles an hour. 
Most unpoetical rounding to our three thousand 
miles of staging in these ten weeks of travel, was 
this ride through Washington. The road was 
rough beyond description ; during the winter rains 
it is just impassable, and is abandoned; for miles it 
is over trees and sticks laid down roughly in 
swamps ; and for the rest, — ungraded, and simply 
a path cut through the dense forest, — the hight and 
depth are fully equal to the length of it. Those 
who worked their passage, by whipping lazy mules 
whose backs they strode, and paid twenty dollars 
for the privilege, made the best time, and had the 
laziest of it. Yet since, I observe, with tender 
memories of hard saddles, they "stand and wait,** 
instead of sitting upon wooden chairs. 

But the majestic beauty of the fir and cedar for- 
ests, through vv^hich we rode almost continuously 
for the day and a half that the road stretched out, 
was compensation for much discomfort. These 
are the finest forests we have yet' met, — the trees 
larger and taller and standing thicker ; so thick and 
tall that the ground they occupy could not hold 
them cut and corded as wood ; and the under- 
growth of shrub and flower and vine and fern, al- 



200 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

most tropical in its luxuriance and impenetrable 
for its closeness. Washington Territory must have 
more timber and ferns and blackberries and snakes 
to the square mile than any other State or Territory 
of the Union. We occasionally struck a narrow 
prairie or a thread-like valley ; perhaps once in ten 
miles a clearing of an acre or two, rugged and rough 
in its half-rede-mption from primitive forest; but for 
the most part it was a continuous ride through for- 
ests, so high and thick that the sun could not reach 
the road, so unpeopled and untouched, that the 
very spirit of Solitude reigned supreme, and made 
us feel its presence as never upon Ocean or Plain. 
The ferns are delicious, little and big, — more of 
them, and larger than you can see in New Eng- 
land, — and spread their beautiful shapes on every 
hand. But the settlers apply to them other adjec- 
tives beginning with d, for they vindicate their 
right to the soil, in plain as well as forest, with 
most tenacious obstinacy, and to root them out is 
a long and difficult job for the farmer. 

We dined on the second day at Skookem Chuck 
(which is Indian for "big water,") and came to the 
head of Puget Sound, which kindly shortens the 
land-passage across the Territory one-half, and this 
town, the capital, at night, encountering the usual 
demonstration of artillery, brass band and banners, 
and most hospitable greeting from Acting-Governor 
Evans and other officials and citizens. Olympia lies 
charmingly under the hill by the water-side ; counts 
its inhabitants less than five hundred, though still 
the largest town of the Territory, save the mining 



THE FOOD OF THE PACIFIC. 2CI 

center of Wallula, way down in the south-east to- 
wards Idaho; numbers more stumps than houses 
within city Hmits ; but is the social and poUtical 
center for a large extent of country; puts' on the 
airs and holds many of the materials of fine society ; 
and entertained us at a very Uncle Jerry and Aunt 
Phebe little inn, whose presiding genius, a fat and 
fair African of fifty years and three hundred pounds, 
■ robed in spotless white, welcomed us with the grace 
and dignity of a queen, and fed us as if we were in 
training for a cannibal's table. 

If there is one thing, indeed, more than another, 
among the facts of civilization, which the Pacific 
Coast organizes most quickly and completely, it is 
good eating. From the Occidental at San Fran- 
cisco to the loneliest of ranches on the most wilder- 
ness of weekly stage routes, a. "good square meal" 
is the rule ; while every village of five hundred in- 
habitants has its restaurants and French or Italian 
cooks. I say this with the near experience and the 
lively recollection of one or two most illustrious ex- 
ceptions, where the meals consisted of coarse bacon, 
ancient beans and villainous mustard, — and where, 
if you declined the two former, you were poUtely 
requested to help yourself to mustard, — and where, 
o' nights, the beds could e'en rise and walk with 
fleas and bedbugs. When the Puritans settled 
New England, their first public duty was to build 
a church with thrifty thought for their souls. Out 
here, their degenerate sons begin with organizing 
a restaurant, and supplying Hostetter's stomachic 
bitters and an European or Asiatic cook. So the 
9* 



202 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

seat of empire, in its travel westward, changes its 
base from soul to stomach, from brains to bowels. 
Perhaps it is only in obedience to that delicate law 
of our later civilization, which forbids us to enjoy 
our religion unless we have already enjoyed our 
victual, and which sends a dyspeptic to hell by an 
eternal regard to the fitness of things. And cer- 
tainly the piety, that ascends from a grateful and 
gratified stomach, is as likely to be worthy as that 
fitfully fructified by Brandreth's pills. 

Is it not a little singular that only our forty- 
oddth State should bear the name of Washington ? 
That it was left to this day and to this cornermost 
Territory to enroll his name among the stars of 
the Republic's banner.^ Washington Territory is 
the upper half of old Oregon, divided by the Co- 
lumbia River and the fortieth parallel for the south- 
ern boundary, and extending up to the fcrty-ninth, 
to which, under the reaction from the unmartial 
Polk's "fifty-four-forty or fight" pretensions, our 
northern line was ignominiously limited to. Its 
population is small, less than twenty thousand, and 
not likely to grow fast, or make it a State for some 
years to come, unless the chance, not probable, of 
rich gold and silver mines within its lines should 
flood it with rapid immigration. But it holds sure 
wealth and a large future through its certain illim- 
itable forests and its probable immense cod depos- 
its. Of all Its surface, west of the Cascade or Si- 
erra Nevada Mountains, not more than one-eighth 
is prairie or open land ; the rest is covered by a 
growth of timber, such as, alike in density and in 



THE SOIL OF WASHINGTON. 20$ 

size, no other like space on the earth's surface can 
boast of. Beyond the mountains to the East, the 
country partakes of the same characteristics as that 
below it; hilly, barren of trees, unfruitful, whose 
chief promises and possibilities are in the cattle 
and sheep line. Its arable land this side the moun- 
tains, where the forests are cleared or interrupted, 
is less fertile than that of Oregon and California ; 
but it sufficeth for its present population, and even 
admits of considerable exports of grain and meat 
for the mining populations in British Columbia, and 
will grow in extent and productiveness probably as 
fast as the necessities of the Territory require. 



LETTER XX, 

PUGET SOUND, AND VANCOUVER'S ISLAND. 



Victoria, V. I., July 28. 
We were a full day and night coming down Puget 
Sound, on the steamer from Olympia; loitering 
along at the villages on its either shore, and study- 
ing the already considerable development of its 
lumber interests, as well as regaling ourselves with 
the beauty of its waters and its richly-stored forest 
shores. Only the upper section of the southern 
branch of these grand series of inland seas and 
rivers, that sweep into the Continent here, and 
make Vancouver's Island, and open up a vast re- 
gion of interior country to the ocean, is now called 
Puget Sound,- — only forty miles or so from Olympia 
north. Formerly the whole confines went by that 
name ; and rightfully it should remain to all which 
runs up into Washington Territory from out the 
Strait of San Juan de Fuca, for this has a unity and 
serves a similar purpose. For beauty and for use, 
this is, indeed, one of the water wonders of the 
world ; curiosity and commerce will give it, year by 
year, increase of fame and visitors. It narrows to 
a river's width ; it circles and swoops into the land 



PUGET S SOUND, AND ITS LUMBER. 20$ 

with coquettish freedom; and then it widens into 
miles of breadth ; carrying the largest of ships any- 
where on its surface, even close to the forests' edge ; 
free of rocks, safe from wind /and wave; — the home 
of all craft, clear, blue and fathomless. 

It is the great lumber market of all the Pacific 
Coast. Already a dozen saw-mills are located on its 
shores ; one which we visited was three hundred and 
thirty-six feet long, and turns out one hundred thou- 
sand feet of lumber daily ; three ships and two barks 
of five hundred to one thousand tons each were load- 
ing with the product direct from the mill ; and the 
present entire export of the Sound, in prepared 
lumber and masts and spars, reaches nearly to one 
hundred millions of feet yearly, and yields at the 
average price of ten dollars a thousand about one 
million dollars. San Francisco is the largest cus- 
tomer; but the Sandwich Islands, China, all the 
Pacific American ports, south and north, and even 
Buenos Ayres around on the Atlantic, come here 
for building materials, and France finds here her 
cheapest and best spars and masts. Much of the 
shipping employed in the busmess is owned on the 
Sound; one mill company has twelve vessels of 
from three hundred to one thousand tons each. 
Tiie business is but m its very mfancy; it will 
grow with the growth of the whole Pacific Coast, 
and with the increasing dearth of fine ship timber 
m other parts of the world ; for it is impossible to 
calculate the time when, cut and saw as we may, all 
these forests shall be used up, and the supply be- 
come exhausted. 



2QO ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

The size of these Washington Territory trees is 
rather overpowering, — we have not seen the big 
trees of CaUfornia yet, — and not daring to trust 
unaccustomed eyes, we resorted to the statistics of 
the lumbermen. Trees, six and seven feet in diam- 
eter, and two hundred to two hundred and fifty feel 
high, are very common, perhaps rarely out of sight 
in the forest ; eight feet in diameter and three hun- 
dred feet high are rarer, but still not at all uncom- 
mon ; — the builder of the telegraph line has hitched 
his wire in one case to a cedar (arbor vitae) which 
is fourteen feet in diameter; a monster tree that 
had fallen, — the forests are full of fallen trees, — 
measured three hundred and twenty-five feet long ; 
and another tree, at the distance of ninety feet from 
its root, was seven feet in diameter! Masts for 
ships are readily procurable, straight as an arrow, 
and without a knot for one hundred feet, and forty 
inches in diameter at thirty feet from the base. I 
stop my figures here, lest my character for truthful 
reporting grow questionable. 

Out of the Sound and straight across the Strait, 
twenty miles, we encounter the rocky shore of 
Vancouver's Island ; searching along v/e meet a 
hidden . hole in the wall, and, steaming in, there 
opens out a little wash-bowl of a bay ; and here is 
Victoria. It is a charming surprise, — the prettiest 
located and best built town on the Pacific Coast, 
and next to Portland in size and business, — a 
healthy copartnership of American enterprise and 
enthusiasm, and English solidity and holdfastness. 
The population ranges from twenty-five hundred in 



victoria: BRITISH RULE. 20/ 

summer and dull times (now) to five thousand in 
winter and the flush season, when the m.ining across 
in British Columbia pays well, and the miners come 
to town to spend their harvest. Out of the town 
and its trade, the island offers little development ; 
there are some poor-paying gold mines ; good bitu- 
minous coal is found in abundance, and profitably 
worked ; here and there is farming in patches, 
which is extending, but most of the food eaten 
here comes from California and Washington. The 
whole white population of the island is no more 
than five thousand to seven tiiousand, and over 
these reigns the cumbersome and expensive ma- 
chinery of an especial English colonial govern- 
ment, — partly appointed by the crown, partly rep- 
resentative, — with a parliament that sat ten months 
last year ; spending four hundred thousand dollars 
a year, and raising it out of the business of this 
town by a system of taxation many times more 
burdensome than our civil war has imposed on 
our people, — including a tax on all sales, besides 
special licenses for each particular business, and an 
income tax on top of all ; but giving in return a 
practically good government, a port free of customs 
duties, order in the city, and excellent roads into 
the country. 

Over across the Gulf of Georgia the same thing 
is repeated ; there stretches out the vast region of 
British Columbia, with another seven thousand pop- 
ulation, largely mining and American, but scattered 
from the capital of New Westminster at the mouth 
of Frazer River, north and east to the Carriboo 



208 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

country and the valley of the Kootenay, five hun- 
dred and six hundred miles away ; duplicating this 
formal and expensive machinery of government, 
with English castles almost for gubernatorial resi- 
dences, and fifteen thousand dollars a year salaries 
to live in them with, and a long retinue of imported 
British officials to match ; raising revenue on this 
side the gulf, however, from customs duties and a 
fifty cent tariff, on every ounce of gold dug, in part ; 
and giving nothing to boast of back but better roads 
to the mines than the American States offer. The 
taxation for public purposes in British Columbia 
swells to the enormous sum of one hundred dollars 
per head of population, and that in Vancouver's 
Island to seventy dollars, a year. 

The Frazer River gold diggings, in British Co- 
lumbia, afe about worked out now; few besides 
Chinamen are washing in them this year ; and the 
rush of the white miners is to the more distant and 
better paying regions of Carriboo and Kootenay, 
though these, as all others on the Coast, are over- 
shadowed this season by the fame of Idaho and 
Montana. 

Victoria is the chief commercial point for these 
two British Provinces, and in part, also, for Wash- 
ington Territory ; and much profitable smuggling 
goes on across these waters and imaginary territo- 
rial lines into the United States. There are fewer 
Americans in Victoria than formerly; they are 
stepping out, as its prosperity seems waning; but 
the English element is apparently increasing. The 
two nations mingle pretty cordially ; the Yankees 



RECEPTION AT VICTORIA. 20;) 

chafe a good deal at the extraordinarily high ta'xes 
and the aristocratic government, and even practical 
John Bull begins to see the ridiculous side of it. 
More surely than the Canadas, even, when these 
provinces become really important and worth hav- 
ing, they will be ours. They will drift to the Union 
by the inevitable law of gravitation, and by the in- 
fluence of the leaven of American nationality and 
sentiment, already large throughout their borders, 
that will grow with their growth, and flavor their 
whole progress. Three daily papers seem to pros- 
per in Victoria; the stores are exceedingly well 
built, and, aside from the twenty-five to thirty-three 
per cent, that are now unoccupied, make a good 
showing of English goods; "shopping" is cheaper 
than anywhere in the States ; and the whole order 
of the civilization here has many pleasant points 
of contrast with other towns on the Pacific Coast. 

This, too, is the great depot of the Hudson Bay 
Company ; all their business from the Pacific Coast 
to the Red River of the North, beyond Minnesota, 
centers here ; and their warehouses of accumulat- 
ing furs and of distributing goods to pay for them 
are among the chief curiosities of the place. They 
do a general trading business wherever they have 
stations or stores; and you can buy calicoes and 
cottons, hardware and rum at their counters, as at 
any old-fashioned country store in New England. 

Our day and a half in Victoria has been a very 
pleasant experience indeed. The Americans gave 
Mr. Colfax and his friends cordial welcome; the 
English were no whit less hearty in demonstration 

14 



2IO ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of good feeling and respect; there was what the 
French call a "grand dinner," the eating whereof 
lasted from seven to ten p. m., and the speaking 
whereat continued from ten to three A. m., — the re- 
sult of which was that all little international differ- 
ences and accounts were amicably adjusted, Andy 
Johnson and Queen Victoria were married, and the 
two grand nations of the Anglo-Saxon race were 
joii;ied into one overpowering, all-subduing, all-fruc- 
tifying Republic ! "And what a bloody country that 
would be," exclaimed an enthusiastic Britisher at 
one of the clock in the morning. 

How could the little question as to the title to a 
group of small islands in this inland sea, and known 
by the name of the largest, San Juan, be thought 
of in such a fraternal baptism.? And, indeed, by 
the cool of the morning after, it seems a very small 
affair. Nothing but wide war between the two 
countries could ever make it of the slightest prac- 
tical consequence. The question turns on whether 
the boundary line runs from strait to' gulf by one 
channel or the other, this side the islands or that. 
Meantime, each government supports a captain and 
corporal's guard of soldiers on San Juan, — only dis- 
tinguishable, probably, one from the other by the 
blue and the red of their uniforms, — and fraterniz- 
ing daily, doubtless, over a game of cards and a 
whisky bottle. All these differences do indeed 
grow small and unpractical as you get near to 
them ; and it is difficult to appreciate what an ex- 
citement and passion one of our generals created 
up here a few years ago by laying hold on the whole 



THE SUMMER IN VICTORIA. 211 

of what the half is a burden. Palpably, by the 
map, and by the course of ocean travel, the Amer- 
ican claim to these islands is the right one ; but in 
view of the certainty of all this apple falling into 
our lap as soon as it is ripe enough to be really val- 
uable, the present status may as well as not go in- 
definitely on. 

Up here, above the latitude of Quebec and Mon- 
treal, we bask in the smile of roses that are denied 
to you in New England. Mounts Shasta and Hood 
of California and Oregon are more than rivaled 
in deep snow fields and majestic snow peaks by 
Mounts Rainier and Baker of Washington ; sailing- 
down Puget Sound, we take in the former from base 
to three peaked summit of thirteen thousand feet 
in hight, all aglow with perpetual white, — a feature 
of deep beauty and impressiveness ; along the sea 
coast, on the opposite side, the hills also rise to the 
region of continuous snow, and look down bald and 
white through the long summer days into the trop- 
ical flower gardens and orchards and hot streets of 
Victoria ; and here, everywhere under these wintry 
shadows, reigns a year, that knows no zero cold, 
and rarely freezing water or snow; that winters 
fuchsias and the most delicate roses, English ivies 
and other tender plants, and summers them with 
rioting luxuriance ; that grows the apple, the pear 
and all the small fruits to perfection, and only can- 
not grow our Indian corn. 

The cHmate of all this Pacific Coast certainly 
presents many s.olace9 and satisfactions in compari- 
son with our own New England. I do not wonder 



212 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

the emigrants hither find new health and Hfe and 
much happiness in its great comparative evenness ; 
but I do not yet recognize that which would com- 
pensate me for the loss of our slow, hesitating, coy- 
ing spring times, our luxuriously-advancing, tender, 
red and brown autumns, aye, and our clear and 
crisply-cold winter days and snow-covered lands, 
with the contrasting evergreens, the illuminated 
sky, the delicately fretted architecture of the leaf-' 
less trees, the sunsets, the nerve-giving tonic of the 
air. Surely there is more various beauty in the 
progress of a New England year than any which 
all the Pacific Coast can offer. 



LETTER XXL 

SAN FRANCISCO: MR. COLFAX AND HIS RECEP- 
TION IN THE PACIFIC STATES. 



San Francisco, August 2. 

" Friscoe," as the interior lovingly and for short 
calls the commercial capital of the Pacific Coast, is 
a good place to come back to, after dusty stage rides 
and rolling ocean travel. It is refreshing to stretch 
on a wide bed at the Occidental, after tangling your 
legs over night in the corner of a " mud wagon," or 
cramping them in the narrow berth of a steamer. 
It is something to miss the punctual Speaker's in- 
junction to be ready at four in the morning, and his 
quick, cheery voice at quarter before, cautioning us 
"to be sure and be on hand;" something also to 
sleep as long as we can, and eat when we have a 
mind to; much, indeed, to know that no brass 
bands lie in wait for us, no hoarse cannon hold a 
horrid welcome for tender nerves, no midnight din- 
ners vex dyspeptic stomachs. 

There is real refreshment and rest, always, in the 
independence and let-you-alone-ativeness of a large 
city. And Friscoe is, indeed, a good place, per se. 
The Washoe people have their chief incentive to 



214 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

piety in the assurance that thus, when they die, 
they will come here ; just as good Bostonians count 
Paris their paradise. These bare, brown and white 
sand hills, that Nature exposes where art has not 
covered her, all around in San Francisco, furnish 
no poetical proof of the susceptible Washoe theory ; 
they are just about as far away from all traditional 
and imaginative ideas of the Garden of Eden as it 
is possible for ugly fact to be ; but the dissimilitude 
of the " Friscoe" climate to all known anywhere else 
on the face of the terrestrial globe, may suggest a 
point on the side of the Washoeites. You cannot 
palm off old Thomas's almanac on the weather 
question, — "calculated for Boston, but equally ap- 
plicable to any other meridian," — in this town. 
San Francisco weather is only its own parallel; 
there is nothing like it, either here on the Pacific 
Coast, or elsewhere, so far as Bayard Taylor has 
traveled, or Fitzhugh Ludlow imagined in Hash- 
eesh. It has its summer in winter, and its winter 
in summer ; the ladies go to church and to opera 
and a shopping, in July and August, clad in heavy 
furs ; overcoats are a daily necessity to every man 
not lined with a patent air-tight coal stove; and 
this very day of August is borrowed from the sui- 
cide week of November, — I would go " my bottom 
dollar," as the miners say, that it would snow in 
half an hour, were I on my native heath. And 
yet, — ingrate, am I not.'' — while I write this plaint, 
I am eating Sweetwater grapes bought in the shops 
at ten cents a pound, though the season is but just 
opening; Black Hamburgs are equally cheap and 



SAN FRANCISCO S SUMMERS. 21 5 

plenty ; peaches are ponderous and luscious at fifty 
cents to one dollar a basket; and pears, plums, 
apricots, nectarines, figs, blackberries and straw- 
berries (still !) all flood the fruit stores, and are sold 
at equally low rates. 

What gives San Francisco its harsh summer days 
is, that it is constantly "in the draft." While else- 
where, along shore, the coast hills uninterruptedly 
break the steady north-west breeze -of the summer 
sea, here they open just enough to let out the wa- 
ters of the Sacramento River and San Francisco 
bay, and let in like a tide of escape steam the ocean 
breeze and mists. When winter comes, the wind 
changes to south-east, and blows to softer scale, and 
between showers, — for then comes the rain, — the 
sky is clearer and the air balmier than in summer. 
Thus the Friscoe people boast of their winters, and 
apologize for their summers. Invalids, especially 
of weak lungs, find the latter seasons very trying 
here, and flee to the protected valleys inland, where 
the days are hot and clear, and the nights agreeably 
cool ; and come back here to winter safely and so- 
ciably. 

Ben Holladay's good steamer Sierra Nevada 
brought us down from Victoria in less than three 
days ; and we tried the Pacific Ocean and came in 
by the Golden Gate for the first time. Though no 
storm raged, the sea did not prove title to the name, 
but rolled and pitched us altogether unpacifically ; 
and the mile wide gate to San Francisco, guarded 
by high hills, abruptly opened, and bristling with 
fortifications, found from us ready answer to its 



2l6 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

welcome ; and we swept around its double corner, 
and came to wharf in the generous and land-locked 
bay of San Francisco, with thanksgiving and grati- 
tude, swelling anew and higher to Providence, Cap- 
tain Conner and Dr. Murdock, as we learned the 
sad fate of our alternate steamer, the Brother Jona- 
than, on her passage by us up the route. We passed 
her and her fatal rock, only an hour or two before 
their sudden and sad collision ; and we readily join, 
as you can imagine, in the wide tide of feeling that 
the disaster creates here. The genial old General 
Wright, long and honorable in service, and beloved 
throughout the Pacific States, and Mr. Nesbit of 
the Bulletin editorial staff, we knew, and had expe- 
rienced their hospitality. Other prominent and be- 
loved citizens went down in that mysterious, sudden 
wreck. 

Speaker Colfax and his friends have now made 
the round of the Pacific States and 'Territories, so 
far as their time will admit. Idaho and Montana 
they regret not to visit, but they have obtained 
much intimate knowledge of their characteristics 
and capacities. A month more remains to them 
here ; and this they spend in excursions to the in- 
terior of California, — to the Big Trees, the Yosem- 
ite, the Geysers, etc., — and in more private engage- 
ments in this city and State, than they have yet 
been able to make. The Speaker's public visit, or 
perhaps more properly his public reception by the 
people of the Pacific States, may be said to be over. 
It has been a very remarkable one for its generos- 
ity and universality and spontaneity; altogether 



THE GREETINGS TO MR. COLFAX. 217 

unexpected to him, and so still more flattering; 
and greatly creditable to the hospitality and genu- 
ine patriotism of the people of these States. I have 
omitted any record of it, in our progress from town 
to town and State to State, because the story in all 
general terms was the same. But now that it is 
substantially over and the journey completed, it is 
only simple truth to say that no man ever had such 
a generous popular welcome on these shores before. 
From his arrival at Austin in Nevada, where we 
first struck the spreading tide of Pacific civilization 
and population, through that State, through Cali- 
fornia to this city, and again northerly through 
the State, through Oregon and Washington, and 
into the British Provinces, up to this time, — a 
period of six weeks, — his progress through the 
country has been a continuous popular ovation. 
Everywhere the same welcome from authorities 
and citizens, the same unstinted proffer of every 
facihty for the journey, for seeing all parts of the 
country, all shades of its development: special 
coaches, special trains and extra steamboats have 
been at his service ; welcome everywhere to confi- 
dence, to fullest fact from most intelligent sources ; 
welcome everywhere by brass band, cannon, mili- 
tary escort, public addresses ; and everywhere, even 
to smallest village and tavern collection of neigh- 
boring rancheros, the same eager desire to hear the 
distinguished visitor speak, and eke then for big 
or little orations from his less distinguished com- 
panions. 

There is a combination of causes for the marked 



2l8 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

demonstrativeness and popularity of this welcome 
to Mr. Colfax in all this region. Chief, of course, 
are his conspicuous public position, and the fact that 
he is the first man high in State who has ever visited 
the Pacific States for the simple and sole reason of 
studying their resources and interests, so as the 
better to serve them in the government ; his early 
and steady friendship and leadership in important 
legislation at Washington in behalf of all this re- 
gion ; his wide personal popularity among public 
men and private men, who have ever known him, 
and the magnetic spread of this popularity along 
his journey from his intercourse with the people 
and his speeches to them. We must add to these 
reasons, now, the newly-developed and hearty sym- 
pathy of these western States with the political ex- 
periences and interests of the East ; their inability 
to share in the war directly, but their therefore 
more intensely loyal feeling in regard to it and its 
issues, and the limited occasion for expressing it. 
Also, and an important consideration, is the eager 
looking for larger knowledge and new appreciation 
of the capacities and interests of these States, in 
this time of their depression and comparative pov- 
erty ; and the desire for the spread of such infor- 
mation among the public men, and through the 
press of the East, as will lead to a fresh emigration 
and a new supply of capital. It is dull times here ; 
it is flush times in the East ; and the West would 
borrow of our new life and prosperity. Mr. Colfax 
and his companions were men thought to be in po- 
sitions to contribute to such results; and part of 



THE SPEECHES OF MR. COLFAX. 219 

their welcome, part of the generous confidence and 
hospitality that have been extended to them, have 
confessedly been on this ground. Such union of 
motive, gratitude, appreciation, loyalty, wise and 
creditable selfishness, have inspired and fed most 
bountiful welcome and treatment. These western 
people never do anything by halves ; they give of 
feeling and of time and of money, whenever they 
are moved, without stint, without calculation. 

Mr, Colfax has freely gratified the popular desire 
everywhere to listen to his voice ; no place on his 
route was too small, no gathering too insignificant, 
to be turned ofi" with indifference, when such hearty 
greeting appealed for attention ; and he has spoken, 
long and short, an average of at least once a day 
since he left the Missouri River; — some days his 
speeches number four and five. Never much stud- 
ied, they were rarely alike in form ; never greatly 
elaborated, they always reached a high level of pop- 
ular eloquence. The average quality of excellence 
in all his efforts has surprised me : I doubt if any 
other of our public men could speak so often and 
so much, and on such various occasions, and suc- 
ceed so well in all. The characteristics of his speak- 
ing have been practical wisdom or good sense, entire 
frankness in utterance of opinions, a charming sim- 
plicity in his style of oratory, coupled with a ready, 
clear expression, and a steady, natural enthusiasm, 
which have kept his hearers in constant sympathy 
with his individuality. The staple subjects he has 
treated have been the War and the questions grow- 
ing out of it, the Resources of the Pacific States 



220 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

and their development, the Mining and the taxation 
of its results, the Mexican question and the Monroe 
doctrine, the Future Destiny of the Republic, Mr. 
Lincoln and his character, the Pacific Railroad, and 
such local and personal matters as the place and 
hour suggested. 

As to the mines and the taxation of their prod- 
ucts, which is a subject of much anxiety in the 
mining districts, Mr. Colfax has taken the ground 
that the mineral lands should be thrown open by 
the government to the free occupation of discover- 
ers and workers, the same as our agricultural lands, 
and under similar regulations to those the miners 
themselves have adopted, in the absence of any 
governmental action, and that the government 
should not tax the product until it passes, finally, 
in the form of bullion, into the commercial uses of 
the world ; — the same as it taxes grain only in the 
form of whiskey and flour, sheep and wool as cloth, 
and the woods in their last processes of manufac- 
ture. He argued this point so justly and strongly 
that he gained general acquiescence even from the 
classes who have generally contended that mining 
should, in no form or stage, be obliged to contribute 
to the support of the government. 

On the Mexican question, he even more bravely 
set himself against the current of public opinion on 
this Coast. Here it is popular to talk of "cleaning 
out" Maximilian in sixty days ; of taking up arms for 
the Juarez government, even if war with England 
and" France should thus be precipitated. Mr. Colfax 
said distinctly that he had no sympathy with this 



MR. COLFAX AND THE MEXICAN QUESTION. 221 

demand; he believed in the Monroe doctrine, he 
thought the Juarez was the rightful government of 
Mexico ; but he was for no hasty, no harsh action 
by our people or government. We should have no 
new war if it could be avoided honorably; we 
needed the healing, developing influences of peace; 
we needed to build the Pacific Railroad, to develop 
our mines and our manufactures and our agricul- 
ture, and to pay our debts, — all which would be for- 
bidden or suffer delay and depression under foreign 
war ; and he believed that with patience and tact, 
and a generous confidence in our government by 
the people, the Mexican question would be satis- 
factorily solved ere long, without any such dire 
calamity as a new and general taking up of arms 
by the Nation. Pressing these views constantly 
and against the popular passion, he has clearly 
made a strong impression in their favor; leading 
citizens and prominent journals have responded to 
his opinions ; and he may be said to have worked 
almost a revolution in the current public sentiment 
of the- Pacific States on this subject ; while he has 
added to the universal respect felt for him personally 
by his courage in espousing an unpopular view here. 
His visit may be counted as of real national benefit 
for the influence of his course in this matter alone. 
Mr. Colfax's speeches at Austin, Virginia City, 
Placerville, Sacramento, San Francisco, Portland, 
and Olympia may be reckoned as his most com- 
plete and satisfactory and statesmanlike discus- 
sions. That at the dinner table in Victoria, to his 
combined American and British entertainers, was 



222 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

his finest specimen of popular eloquence; it was 
well-conceived and tasteful in thought, well-pitched 
and richly sustained in expression ; and its impres- 
sion upon his audience, one of the most intelligent 
and critical he has ever addressed, was most decided 
and gratifying. The leading English gentlemew 
present were enthusiastic concerning both its mat' 
ter and manner. It breathed the spirit of peace 
and fraternal feeling towards the English sovereign 
and people ; while setting forth most effectively the 
success and destiny of the great American Re^ 
public. 

Mr. Colfax has indeed gained credit and popu- 
larity everywhere on his journey, and his visit here 
is as likely to prove as valuable to him personally, 
in his growth as a public man, as it surely will be 
important and useful in intertwining the bonds of 
business and of political union, of profit and of pa- 
triotism, among the widely separated States of the 
Nation. Of his companions in his travels. Governor 
Bross has generally joined him in addressing the 
popular audiences that have welcomed the party, 
and Mr. Richardson occasionally, and both with 
much acceptance. The Governor is sure to gain 
the cheers of the men, the smiles of the ladies; 
and Mr. Richardson has charmed all by his cul- 
tured sentences and his well-rounded rhetoric. 



LETTER XXII. 

THE YOSEMITE VALLEY AND THE BIG TREES. 



YosEMiTE Valley, California, August ii. 

The Yosemite ! As well interpret God in thirty- 
nine articles as portray it to you by word of mouth 
or pen. As well reproduce castle or cathedral by 
a stolen frieze, or broken column, as this assem- 
blage of natural wonder and beauty by photograph 
or painting. The overpowering sense of the sub- 
lime, of awful desolation, of transcending marvel- 
ousness and unexpectedness, that swept over us, as 
we reined our horses sharply out of green forests, 
and stood upon high jutting rock that overlooked 
this rolling, upheaving sea of granite mountains, 
holding far down its rough lap this vale of beauty 
of meadow and grove and river, — such tide of feel- 
ing, such stoppage of ordinary emotions comes at 
rare intervals in any life. It was the confrontal of 
God face to face, as in great danger, in solemn, sud- 
den death. It was Niagara, magnified. All that 
was mortal shrank back, all that was immortal 
swept to the front and bent down in awe. We 
sat till the rich elements of beauty came out of the 
majesty and the desolation, and then, eager to get 



224 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

nearer, pressed tired horses down the steep, rough 
path into the Valley. 

And here we have wandered and wondered 
and worshiped for four days. Under sunshine 
and shadow; by rich, mellow moonlight; by stars 
opening double wide their eager eyes; through a 
peculiar August haze, delicate, glowing, creamy, yet 
hardly perceptible as a distinct element,- — the New 
England Indian summer haze doubly refined, — by 
morning and evening twilight, across camp fires, up 
from beds upon the ground through all the watches 
of the night, have we seen these, the great natural 
wonders and beauties of this western world. In- 
deed, it is not too much to say that no so limited 
space in all the known world offers such majestic 
and impressive beauty. Niagara alone divides hon- 
ors with it in America. Only the whole of Switzer- 
land can surpass it, — no one scene in all the Alps 
can match this before me now in the things that 
mark the memory and impress all the senses for 
beauty and for sublimity. 

The one distinguishing feature is a double wall 
of perpendicular granite, rising from a half a mile 
to a mile in hight, and inclosing a valley not more 
than half a mile in width on the average, and from 
ten to fifteen miles in length. It is a fissure, a 
chasm, rather than a valley, in solid rock mountains ; 
there is not breadth enough in it for even one of 
its walls to lie down ; and yet it offers all the fer- 
tility, all the beauties of a rich valley. There is 
meadow with thick grass ; there are groves of pine 
and oak, the former exquisite in form and majestic 



THE VERDURE OF THE VALLEY. 225 

in size, rising often to two hundred and two hun- 
dred and fifty feet ; there are thickets of willow and 
birch, bay trees and dogwood, and various flowering 
shrubs ; primrose and cowslip and golden rod and 
violet and painted cup, more delicate than eastern 
skies can welcome, make gay garden of all the va- 
cant fields now in August ; the aroma of mint, of 
pine and fir, of flower loads the air ; the fern family 
find a familiar home everywhere ; and winding in 
and out among all flows the Merced River, so pure 
and transparent that you can hardly tell where the 
air leaves off and the water begins, rolling rapid over 
polished stones or soft sands, or staying in wide, 
deep pools that invite the bather and the boat, and 
holding trout only less rich and dainty than the 
brook trout of New England. The soil, the trees, 
the shrubs, the grasses and the flowers of this little 
Valley are much the same in general character and 
variety as those of your Connecticut River valleys ; 
but they are richer in development and greater in 
numbers. They borrow of the mountain fecundity 
and sweetness ; and they are fed by summer rains 
as those of other California valleys rarely are. 

Now imagine, — can you.? — rising up, sheer and 
sharp, on each side of this line of fertile beauty, 
irregularly-flowing and variously-crowned walls of 
granite rock, thrice as high as your Mounts Tom 
and Holyoke, twice as high as Berkshire's Graylock. 
The color of the rock is most varied. • A grayish 
drab or yellow is the dominant shade, warm and 
soft. In large spots, it whitens out ; and again it 
is dark and discolored as if by long exposure to 
10* 15 



226 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

rain and snow and wind. Sometimes the light and 
dark shades are thrown into quick contrast on a 
single wall, and you know where the Zebra and 
Dr. Bellows' church were borrowed from. More 
varied and exquisite still are the shapes into which 
the rocks are thrown. The one great conspicuous 
object of the Valley is a massive, two-sided wall, 
standing out into and over the meadow, yellowish- 
gray in color, and rising up into the air unbroken, 
square, perpendicular, for full three-qiiai'tcrs of a 
mile. It bears in Spanish and Indian the name of 
the Great Jehovah ; and it is easy to believe that it 
was an object of worship by the barbarians, as it is 
not difficult for civilization to recognize the Infinite 
in it, and impossible not to feel awed and humbled 
in its presence. 

In other places these mountain walls of rock take 
similar and only less majestic shape ; while as fre- 
quently they assume more poetical and fantastic 
forms. Here and there are grand massive domes, 
as perfect in shape as your State-house dome, and 
bigger than the entire of a dozen State-houses. 
The highest rock of the Valley is a perfect half- 
dome, split sharp and square in the middle, and 
rising almost a mile or near five thousand feet, — 
as high as Mount Washington is above the level of 
the sea, — over the little lake which perfectly mirrors 
its majestic form at its foot. Perfect pyramids take 
their places- in the wall; then these pyramids come 
in families, and mount away one after and above 
the other, as " The Three Brothers." " The Cathe- 
dral Rocks " and " The Cathedral Spires " unite the 



THE MONARCH ROCKS. 22/ 

great impressiveness, the beauty and the fantastic 
form of the Gothic architecture. From their shape 
and color aUke, it is easy to imagine, in looking upon 
them, that you are under the ruins of an old Gothic 
cathedral, to which those of Cologne and Milan are 
but baby-houses. 

The most common form of the rocks is a slightly 
sloping bare wall, lying in long, dizzy sweeps, some- 
times horizontal, sometimes perpendicular, and 
stretching up and up so high as to cheat the Valley 
out of hours of sunshine every day. • Here huge 
arches are carved on the face ; there long, narrow 
shelves run midway, along which and in every avail- 
able crevice, great pines sprout and grow, yet ap- 
pearing like shrubs against the broad hight of the 
wall; again, the rock lies in thick folds, one upon 
another, like the hide of a rhinoceros ; occasional 
columns stand out as if sculptured upon the sur- 
face ; sometimes it juts out at the top over the Val- 
ley like the brim of a beaver ; and then it recedes 
and sharpens to a cone. Many of the various 
shapes and shades of color in the surface of these 
massive walls of rock come from the peeling off of 
great masses of the granite. Frost and ice get into 
the weak crevices, and blast out huge slices or frag- 
ments, that fall in boulders, from the size of a great 
house down to that of an apple, into the valley be- 
low. 

Over the sides of the walls pour streams of wa- 
ter out of narrower valleys still above, and yet 
higher and far away, rise to twelve and thirteen 
thousand feet the culminating peaks of the Sierra 



228 , ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Nevadas, with still visible fields of melting snows. 
All forms and shapes and colors of majesty and 
beauty cluster around this narrow spot; it seems 
created the home of all that is richest in inspiration 
for the heroic in life, for poetry, for painting, for im- 
aginative religion. 

The Water-falls of the Valley, though a lesser inci- 
dent in all its attractions, offer much that is marvel- 
ous and beautiful. This, however, is the season of 
their feeblest power. It is in May and June, when 
their fountains are freshest, that they appear at their 
best, and assume their proper place in the grand 
panorama of beauty and sublimity. In the main 
portion of the Valley, the Bridal Vail is the first con- 
spicuous fall, — now a dainty rivulet starting over a 
precipice nine hundred feet high, but nearly all lost 
at once in delicate spray that sways and scatters in 
the light breeze, and fastens upon the wall, as sign 
of its being and its beauty, the fabled rainbow of 
promise. The name of this fall is well chosen ; it 
is type of the delicate gauze, floating and illusory, 
by which brides delight to hide their blushes and 
give mystery to their charms. Farther up, before 
the hotel, you see the Yosemite Fall, perhaps twice 
the size in volume of the Bridal Vail, but distin- 
guished for its hight, — the greatest hight of any 
water-fall yet discovered in the world. It is broken 
about two-thirds the way down its high wall of rock 
by projecting masses of the mountain, giving it sev- 
eral hundred feet of cataract passage ; but counting 
its whole fall from top to bottom, it is two thousand 
six hundred feet in hight, which is onlv fifteen times 



THE VERNAL AND NEVADA FALLS. 229 

as high as Niagara Falls ! Now, it is a mere silvery 
ribbon of spray, shooting down its long passage in 
delicate rockets of whitened foam. Earlier in the 
season, when ten times the volume of water pours 
down, it must, indeed, be a feature of fascinating, 
wonderful beauty. 

The Valley above this point separates into two 
or three narrow canyons, and these are soon walled 
in by the uprising rocks. At the end of one of 
these, the main branch of the river falls from its 
upper fountains over two walls, one three hundred 
and fifty feet high and the other seven hundred, at 
points half a mile apart. The lower and shorter 
fall is called the Vernal, and pours down its whole 
hight without a break, and forms at the base a most 
exquisite circular rainbow, one of the rarest phe- 
nomena in all nature. The upper fall bears the 
name of Nevada, breaks as it comes over its crest 
into a grand blossom of spray, and strikes, about 
half way down its seven hundred feet, the obtrud- 
ing wall, which thence offers just sufficient slope to 
keep the water and carry it in chasing, circling lines 
of foam to the bottom. This is the fall of falls, — 
there is no rival to it here in exquisite, various, fas- 
cinating beauty; and Switzerland, which abounds 
in Water-falls of like type, holds none of such pe- 
culiar charms. Not a drop of the rich stream of 
water but is white in its whole passage, — it is one 
sheet, rather one grand lace-work of spray from 
beginning to end. As it sweeps down its plane of 
rock, each drop all distinct, all alive, there is noth- 
ing of human art that you can compare it with but 



230 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

innumerable and snow-white point-lace collars and 
capes; as much more delicate and beautiful and 
perfect, however, as Nature ever is than Art. For 
half the distance between the two falls, the river 
runs swift over a solid plane of granite, clean and 
smooth as ice, as if Neptune was on a grand sUding- 
down hill frolic. 

The excursion to this head of the chasm from the 
stopping-place below is through narrow defiles, over 
fallen rocks, up the sides of precipices, and over 
perpendicular walls by ladders, for a total distance 
of about four miles, and is the most difficult and 
fatiguing one that confronts the visitor; but both 
in the beauty of its Water-falls, and the new and 
rare shapes of rock scenery that it offers, it is most 
richly compensating, and never should be omitted. 

The journey hither from San Francisco is both 
a tedious and an expensive one, and so a barrier to 
the extensive popular enjoyment of the rare works 
of nature here gathered. But the number of visi- 
tors is rapidly increasing ; last year there were in 
all but one hundred, and already this season over 
three hundred persons have come into the Valley. 
Congress has ceded the territory of the Valley to 
the State of California for reservation and preser- 
vation as a spot for public resort and popular enjoy- 
ment ; and a laudable and promising effort is now 
making, under the lead of Mr. Frederick Law Olm- 
sted, the manager of the Mariposa estate, to secure 
an appropriation from the State treasury for improv- 
ing the means of access, laying out paths among its 
beauties, and providing cheap yet agreeable accom- 



THE JOURNEY TO THE YOSEMITE. 23 I 

modations for visitors. This wise cession and dedi- 
cation by Congress, and proposed improvement by 
California, also includes the nearest of the groves 
of Big Trees, which is to be similarly held and pro- 
tected for the public benefit, and furnishes an ad- 
mirable example for other objects of natural curi- 
osity and popular interest all over the Union. New 
York should preserve for popular use both Niagara 
Falls and its neighborhood and a generous section 
of her famous Adirondacks, and Maine one of her 
lakes and its surrounding woods. 

The first stage of the journey to the Yosemite is 
by steamboat to Stockton, up the Sacramento and 
San Joaquin Rivers, one hundred and twenty-five 
miles. Next was a stage ride of a day and a half 
(one hundred miles) up the San Joaquin valley, over 
now arid plains, waiting for irrigation to be produc- 
tive, and turning next tc the east, among the foot- 
hills of the Sierra Nevadas, along the valleys of the 
tributaries of the San Joaquin, and into and through 
Mariposa County, seventy square miles of which 
constitute the celebrated Mariposa estate of Gen- 
eral Fremont. Here, at a point near the village of 
Mariposa, we came to the end of the stage road, and 
entered upon forty miles of horseback riding, so 
much farther into the bowels of the Sierras, in 
order to reach the Happy Valley. Along a nar- 
row trail, climbing up and down steep mountains, 
by and through close defiles, through continuous 
forests of majestic pines and firs, rich with yellow- 
green mosses, up to six and eight thousand feet 
above the sea level, we rode in single file, — a part 



232 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of the way by a moonlight that lent indescribal ^-: 
picturesqueness and fascination to forest and ravine, 
besides frequent doubt as to the trail ; — every hour 
a joy, every hour a fatigue, full of soreness and dirt 
and merriment; eager for the end, but enjoying 
every moment of the novel experience, every long 
mile of the rare road. 

Our party had swollen to seventeen, the largest 
that had ever made the trip, and included five 
ladies. We had Law Olmsted, creator of New 
York Central Park, and organizer of the Sanitary . 
Commission; Mr. Ashburner of the Geological 
Survey corps ; Boston lawyers ; San Francisco 
journalists ; wit, grace, beauty. We exhausted all 
the horses of the kingdom of Fremont, and created 
famine in our path. Lodgings were abundant, 
however, for whom house and tent did not hold, the 
wide expanse of heaven safely covered, and the 
hay-stack warmed. The out-door beds, indeed, 
came to be at a premium ; for in the dry, pure air 
of this region, there is not only no harm, but actjual 
health in sleeping upon the ground either under 
tents or wholly in the open air. The mountain 
pastures, — scattered meadows rich at this season 
with a vernal green, — furnish mutton sweeter and 
richer than even Enghsh breeders or butchers can 
give^ you ; the forests yielded their deer, and the 
rivers their trout to our appetites ; the valley has 
its one vegetable garden, — so that, however our im- 
mediate successors shall fare, we have had no com- 
plaint to make of the commissary department. 

Our companions from San Francisco proved rich 



THE NAME OF THE VALLEY. 233 

in song and sentiment; good-nature flowed and 
overflowed ; fatigue was forgotten in joke and rail- 
lery ; and digestion aided by sturdy laughter. We 
"kept marching through Georgia" with Sherman; 
we serenaded the "sweet lady" till she must have 
pined for a chance to sleep ; we put John Brown's 
soul over its familiar road at least twice a day ; had "a 
day of jubilo" with our colored brothers equally often; 
helped " the turkey gobbler to yank the grasshopper 
from the sweet potato vine " oftener than he could 
possibly have been hungry ; grew steadily barbaric 
and dirty ; laughed at dignity ; and voted form and 
ceremony a nuisance. But our week in the woods 
is over, and we turn our faces towards civilization 
and conformity to-morrow. We shall be glad to 
see the washerwoman, but we lament that no more, 
save in memory, shall these eyes behold these scenes 
of infinite beauty and sublimity. 

The name that has attached to this beautiful 
valley is both unique and euphonious. It rolls off 
the tongue most liquidly when you get the mas- 
tery of its pronunciation. Most strangers render 
it Yo-se-mite, or Yo-sem-ite ; but the true style is 
Yo-sem-i-te. It is Indian for Grizzly Bear, and 
probably was also the name of a noted chief, who 
reigned over the Indians in t.his, their favorite re- 
treat, and from this chief comes the application of 
the name to the locality and its marvelous scenery. 
The foot of white man never trod its limits, — the 
eye of white man never looked upon its sublime 
wonders till 185 1, when he came here in pursuit of 
the Indians, with whom the settlers were then in 



234 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

war. The red man had boasted that their retreat 
was secure ; that they had one spot which their en- 
emies could never penetrate ; and here they would 
gather in and enjoy their spoils unmolested. But 
to the white man's revenge was now added the 
stimulus of curiosity ; and hither he found his way, 
and, coming to kill and exterminate, he has staid, 
and will forever henceforth stay, to wonder and 
worship. 

There are but two or three settlers in the Valley. 
One, Mr. Hutchings, keeps a hotel, and can accom- 
modate a dozen to twenty people at once very com- 
fortably, and is both enterprising and courteous. 
There are only two paths out of the Valley, one over 
the mountain to the right, to Coulterville, and the 
other in the opposite direction to Mariposa. Each 
are simple trails for foot passengers and horses ; 
and all baggage, all provisions, lumbc;, etc., have to 
be packed in on the backs of mules and horses. 
The mountains close in upon th6 river so nearly 
below this spot, that there is no egress or ingress in 
that way, except for foot travelers, and only with 
difficulty to them. 

Part way in our horseback ride into the Valley, 
we stopped for a day at a solitary ranch on the 
South Fork of the Merced, and had generous wel- 
come from its owner, Mr. Galen Clark, an old and 
intelligent pioneer in this region, and under his pi-- 
lotage saw the reservation of Big Trees near the 
border line of Mariposa and Fresno counties. They 
are but a few miles off the direct road to the Yo- 
semite, and while of the same character, are alike 



THE SEQUOIA GIGANTEA. 235 

more numerous and larger in individual specimens 
than the grove of Big Trees in Calaveras County. 
The latter are the ones first discovered and often 
described, and are still those most visited ; but they 
lie in an adjoining county, and farther away from 
the route we took to the Yosemite. Other similar 
groves to both these two have been discovered 
within a year or two, and some fifteen or twenty 
are now known to exist among the forests on the 
western slopes of the Sierra Nevadas in southern 
California. They occur along at various points 
through some hundred miles ; and it is quite likely 
that many more still will be found in the same 
range yet farther south. 

The Big Trees we visited are scattered in groups 
among the pine and cedar forests through a space 
of several miles. The collection numbers about 
six hundred. East of the Rocky Mountains, their 
pine and cedar companions, — so common all over 
these hills and in these valleys, — would be the won- 
der of the States for size and beauty; for they grow 
to six and eight and even ten feet in diameter, and 
to two hundred and fifty and three hundred feet in 
hight. But these mammoths sink to pigmies by the 
side of the Sequoia Gigantea, which is the scientific 
name applied to the Big Trees proper. They swell 
to thirty and forty feet in diameter, and rarely fall 
below two hundred and fifty feet in hight. Among 
those we examined are six each over thirty feet in 
diameter, and from ninety to one hundred in circum- 
ference ; fifty over sixteen feet in diameter, and two 
hundred over twelve feet. "The Grizzly Giant," 



2^6 ACROSS THE CONTINENT^ 

v/hich is among the largest and most noteworthy, 
runs up ninety feet with scarcely perceptible dimi- 
nution of bulk, and then sends out a branch, itself 
six feet in diameter. 

But they are even more impressive for their beauty 
than their bigness^ The bark is an exquisitely light 
and delicate cinnamon color, fluted up and down 
the long, straight, slowly-tapering trunk, like Co- 
rinthian columns in architecture ; " the top, resting 
like a cap upon a high, bare mast, is a perfect cone ; 
and the evergreen leaves wear a bright, light shade, 
by which the tree can be distinguished from afar in 
the forest. The wood is a deep, rich red in color, 
and otherwise marks the similarity of the Big Trees 
to the species that grows so abundantly on the coast 
range of mountains through the Pacific States, and 
known generally as the redwood. Their wood is, 
however, of a finer grain than their smaller kindred, 
and both that and the bark, the latter sometimes as 
much as twenty inches thick, are so light and deli- 
cate, that the winds and snows of the winter make 
frequent wrecks of the tops and upper branches. 
Many of the largest of these trees are, therefore, 
shorn of their upper works. One or two of the 
largest in the grove we visited are wholly blown 
down, and we rode on horseback through the trunk 
of an old one, that had been burned out Many 
more of the noblest specimens are scarred by fires 
that have been wantonly built about their trunks, or 
swept through the forests by accident The trunk 
of one huge tree is burned into half a dozen little 
apartments, making capital provision for a game of 



THE AGE OF THE BIG TREES« 237 

hide and seek by children, or for dividing up a pic- 
nic of older growths into sentimental couples. 

Wild calculations have been made of the ages of 
the larger of these trees ; but none now upon the 
ground date back farther than the Christian Era. 
They began with our Modern Civilization; they 
were just sprouting when the Star of Bethlehem 
rose and stood for a sign of its origin ; they have 
been ripening in beauty and power through these 
Nineteen Centuries; and they stand forth now, a 
type of the M^'esty and Grace of Him with whose 
life they are coeval. Certainly they are chief among 
the natural curiosities and marvels of western Amer- 
ica, of the known world ; and though not to be com- 
pared, in the impressions they make and the emo- 
tions they arouse, to the great rock scenery of the 
Yosemite, which inevitably carries the spectator up 
to the Infinite Creator and Father of all, they do 
stand for all that has been claimed for them in won- 
derful greatness and «>ajestic beauty. 



LETTER XXIII. 

THE CHINESE: GRAND DINNER WITH THEM. 



San Frai^isco, August i8. 
I HAVE been waiting before writing of the 
Chinese in these Pacific States, till my experi- 
ence of them had culminated in the long-promised 
grand dinner with their leaders and aristocrats. 
This came last night, and while I am full of the 
subject, — shark's fins and resurrected fungus digest 
slowly, — let me write of this unique and impor- 
tant element in the population and civilization of 
this region. There are no fewer than sixty to 
eighty thousand Chinamen here. They are scat- 
tered all over the States and Territories of the 
Coast, and number from one-eighth to one-sixth of 
the entire population. We began to see them at 
Austin, in Nevada, and have found them every- 
where since, in country and city, in the woods, 
among the mines, north in the British dominions, 
on the Coast, in the mountains, — everywhere that 
work is to be done, and money gained by patient, 
plodding industry. They have been coming over 
from home since 1852, when was the largest emi- 
gration, (twenty thousand.) A hundred thousand 



THE CHINESE HOUSE SERVANTS. 239 

in all have come, but thirty thousand to forty thou- 
sand have gone back. None come really to stay ; 
they do not identify themselves with the country ; 
but to get work, to make money, and go back. 
They never, or very rarely, bring their wives. The 
Chinese women here are prostitutes, imported as 
such by those who make a business of satisfying 
the lust of men. Nor are their customers alto- 
gether Chinese; base white men patronize their 
wares as well. Some of these women are taken as 
*' secondary" wives by the Chinese residents, and 
a sort of family life established ; but, as a general 
rule, there are no families among them, and few 
children. 

The occupations of these people are various. 
There is hardly anything that they cannot turn 
their hands to, — the work of women as well as 
men. They do the washing and ironing for the 
whole population ; and sprinkle the clothes as they 
iron them, by squirting water over them in a fine 
spray from their mouths. Everywhere, in village 
and town, you see rude signs, informing you that 
See Hop or Ah Thing or Sam Sing or Wee Lung 
or Cum Sing wash and iron. How Tie is a doctor, 
and Hop Chang and Chi Lung keep stores. They 
are good house servants ; cooks, table-waiters, and 
nurses ; better, on the whole, than Irish girls, and 
as cheap, — fifteen to twenty-five dollars a month 
and board. One element of their usefulness as 
cooks is their genius for imitation ; show them 
once how to do a thing, and their education is per- 
fected ; no repetition of the lesson is needed. But 



240 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

they seem to be more in use as house servants in 
the country than the city ; they do not share the 
passion of the Irish girls for herding together, and 
appear to be content to be alone in a house, in a 
neighborhood, or a town. 

Many are vegetable gardeners, too. In this even 
climate and with this productive soil, their pains- 
taking culture, much hoeing and constant watering, 
makes little ground very fruitful, and they gather in 
three, four and five crops a year. Their garden 
patches, in the neighborhood of cities and villages, 
are always distinguishable from the rougher and 
more carelessly cultured grounds of their Saxon 
rivals. The Pacific Railroad is being built by Chi- 
nese labor; several thousand Chinamen are now 
rapidly grading the track through the rocks and 
sands of the Sierra Nevadas, — without them, in- 
deed, this great work would have to wait for years, 
or move on with slow, hesitating steps. They can, 
by their steady industry, do nearly as much in a 
day, even in this rough labor, as the average of 
white men, and they cost only about half as much, 
say thirty dollars a month against fifty dollars. Be- 
sides, white labor is not to be had in the quantities 
necessary for such a great job as this. -Good farm 
hands are the Chinese, also ; and in the simpler and 
routine mechanic arts they have proven adepts ; — 
there is hardly any branch of labor in which, under 
proper tuition, they do not or cannot succeed most 
admirably. The great success of the woolen man- 
ufacture here is due to the admirable adaptation and 
comparative cheapness of Chinese labor for the de- 



CHEAPNESS OF CHINESE LABOR. 24 1 

tails. They are quick to learn, quiet, cleanly and 
faithful, and have no "off days," no sprees to get 
over. As factory operatives they receive twenty 
and twenty-five dollars a month, and board them- 
selves, though quarters are provided for them on 
the mill grounds. Fish, vegetables, rice and pork 
are the main food, which is prepared and eaten with 
such economy that they live for about one-third 
what Yankee laborers can. 

Thousands of the Chinese are gleaners in the 
gold fields. They follow in crowds after the white 
miners, working and washing over their deserted 
or neglected sands, and thriving on results that 
their predecessors would despise. A Chinese gold 
washer is content with one to two dollars a day ; 
while the white man starves or moves on disgusted 
with twice that. A very considerable portion of 
the present gold production of California must now 
be the work of Chinese painstaking and moderate 
ambition. The traveler meets these Chinese miners 
everywhere on his road through the State ; at work 
in the deserted ditches, or moving from one to an- 
other, on foot with their packs, or often in the stage,^ 
sharing the seats and paying the price of their aris- 
tocratic Saxon rivals. 

Labor, cheap labor, being the one great palpable 
need of the Pacific States, — far more indeed than 
capital the want and necessity of their prosperity,-— 
we should all say that these Chinese would be wel- 
comed on every hand, their emigration encouraged, 
and themselves protected by law. Instead of which, 
we see them the victims of all sorts of prejudice 



242 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

and injustice. Ever since they began to come here, 
even now, it is a disputed question with the public, 
whether they should not be forbidden our shores. 
The do not ask or wish for citizenship ; they have 
no ambition to become voters ; but they are even 
denied protection in persons and property by the 
law. Their testimony is inadmissible against the 
white man; and, as miners, they are subject to a 
tax of four dollars a month, or nearly fifty dollars a 
year, each, for the benefit of the County and State 
treasuries. Thus ostracized and burdened by the 
State, they, of course, have been the victims of 
much meanness and cruelty from individuals. To 
abuse and cheat a Chinaman ; to rob him ; to kick 
and cuff him ; even to kill him, have been things 
not only done with impunity by mean and wicked 
men, but even with vain glory. Terrible are some 
of the cases of robbery and wanton maiming and 
murder reported from the mining districts. Had 
"John," — here and in China alike the English and 
Americans nickname every Chinaman "John," — -a 
good claim, original or improved, he was ordered to 
" move on," — it belonged to somebody else. Had 
he hoarded a pile, he was ordered to disgorge ; and, 
if he resisted, he was killed. Worse crimes even 
are known against them ; they have been wantonly 
assaulted and shot down or stabbed by bad men, 
as sportsmen would surprise and shoot their game 
in the woods. There was no risk in such barbarity ; 
if "John" survived to tell the tale, the law would 
not hear him" or believe him. Nobody was so low, 
so miserable, that he did not despise the Chinaman, 



OPPOSITION TO THE CHINESE. 243 

and could not outrage him. Ross Browne has an 
illustration of the status of poor "John," that is 
quite to the point. A vagabond Indian comes upon 
a solitary Chinaman, working over the sands of a 
deserted gulch for gold. " Dish is my land," — says 
he, — "you pay me fifty dollar." The poor celestial 
turns, deprecatingly, saying : " Melican man (Amer- 
ican) been here, and took all, — no bit left." Indian, 

irate and fierce, — " D = Melican man, — you pay 

me fifty dollar, or I killee you." 

Through a growing elevation of public opinion, 
and a reactionary experience towards depression, 
that calls for study of the future, the Californians 
are beginning to have a better appreciation of their 
Chinese immigrants. The demand for them is in- 
creasing. The new State, to be built upon manu- 
factures and agriculture, is seen to need their cheap 
and reliable labor* and more pains will be taken to 
attract them to the country. But even now, a man 
who aspires to be a political leader, till lately a pos- 
sible United States Senator, and the most widely 
circulated daily paper of this city, pronounce against 
the Chinese, and would drive them home. Their 
opposition is based upon the prejudices and jeal- 
ousy of ignorant white laborers, — the Irish partic- 
ularly, — who regard the Chinese" as rivals in their 
field, and clothes itself in that cheap talk, so com- 
mon among the bogus democracy of the East, 
about this being a "white man's country," and no 
place for Africans or Asiatics. But our national 
democratic principle, of welcoming hither the peo- 
ple of every country and clime, aside, the white 



244 ACROSS THE CONTINENT, 

man needs the negro and the Chinaman more than 
they him ; the pocket appeal will override the prej- 
udices of his soul, — and we shall do a sort of rough 
justice to both tlasses, because it will pay. The 
political questions involved in the negro's presence, 
and pressing so earnestly for solution, do not yet 
arise with regard to the Chinese, — perhaps will 
never be presented. As I have said, the Chinese 
are ambitious of no political rights, no citizenship, 
■ — it is only as our merchants go to China that they 
come here. Their great care, indeed, is to be bur- 
ied at home ; they stipulate with anxiety for that ; 
and the great bulk of all who die on these shores 
are carried back for final interment 

There is no ready assimilation of the Chinese 
with our habits and modes of thought and action. 
Their simple, narrow though not dull minds have 
run too long in the old grooves to be easily turned 
off. They look down even with contempt upon our 
newer and rougher civilization, regarding us bar- 
baric in fact, and calling us in their hearts, if not in 
speech, "the foreign devils." And our conduct to- 
wards them has inevitably intensified these feel- 
ings, — it has driven them back upon their naturally 
self-contained natures and habits. So they bring 
here and retain all their home ways of living and 
dressing, their old associations and religion. Their 
streets and quarters in town and city are China 
reproduced, unalleviated. Christian missionaries 
make small inroads among them. There is an in- 
telligent and faithful one here (Rev. Mr. Loomis,) 
who has an attractive chapel and school, but his fol- 



CHINESE RELIGION AND VICES. 245 

lowers are few, and not rapidly increasing. But he 
and his predecessors and assistants have been and 
are doing a good work in teaching the two diverse 
races to better understand each other and in show- 
ing them hov/ they can be of value to one another. 
They have been the constant and urgent advocates 
of the personal rights of the Chinese. 

The religion of these people is a cheap, showy 
idolatry, with apparently nothing like fanaticism in 
it, and not a very deep hold in itself on their na- 
tures. ''Josh" is their god or idol, and the "Josh" 
houses are small affairs, fitted up with images and 
altars a good deal after the style of cheap Catholic 
'churches in Europe. Their whole civilization im- 
presses me as a low, disciplined, perfected, sensu- 
ous sensualism. Everything in their life and their 
habits seems cut and dried like their food. There 
is no sign of that abandonment to an emotion, to 
a passion, good or bad, that marks the western 
races. Their great vice is gambling ; that is going 
on constantly in their houses and shops ; and com- 
mercial women and barbaric music minister to its 
indulgence. Cheap lotteries are a common form 
of this passion. Opium-smoking ranks next; and 
this is believed to be indulged in more extensively 
among them here than at home, since there is less 
restraint from relatives and authorities, and the 
means of procuring the article are greater. The 
wildly brilliant eye, the thin, haggard face, and the 
broken nervous system betray the victim to opium- 
smoking ; and all tense, all excited, staring in eye 
and expression, he was almost a frightful object, as 



246 ACROSS THE CONTINENT, 

we peered in through the smoke of his half-hghted 
Httle room, and saw him lying on his mat in the 
midst of his fatal enjoyment. 

But as laborers in our manufactories and as ser- 
vants in our houses, beside their constant contact 
with our life and industry otherwise, these emi- 
grants from the East cannot fail to get enlargement 
of ideas, freedom and novelty of action, and famil- 
iarity with and then preference for our higher civil- 
ization. Slowly and hardly but still surely this 
work must go on; and their constant going back 
and forth between here and China must also trans- 
plant new elements of thought and action into the 
home circles. Thus it is that we may hope and 
expect to reach this great people with the influ- 
ences of our better and higher life. It is through 
modification and revolution in materialities, in man- 
ner of living, in manner of doing, that we shall 
pave the way for our thought and our religion. 
Our missionaries to the Five Points have learned 
to attack first with soap and water and clean clothes. 
The Chinese that come here are unconsciously be- 
sieged at first with better food and more of it than 
they have at home. The bath-house and the res- 
taurant are the avant couriers of the Christian civ- 
ilization. 

The Chinese that come to these States are among 
the best of the peasantry from the country about 
Canton and Hong Kong. None of them are the 
miserable coolies that have been imported by the 
English to their Indian colonies as farm laborers. 
They associate themselves here into companies, 



THE CHINESE VS. THE IRISH AND AFRICAN. 24/ 

based upon the village or neighborhood from which 
they come at home. These companies have head- 
quarters in San Francisco; their presidents are 
men of high intelligence and character ; and their 
office is to afford a temporary refuge for all who be- 
long to their bodies, to assist them to work, to pro- 
tect them against wrong, and send the dead back 
to their kindred at home. Beside these organiza- 
tions, there are guilds or trade associations among 
the Chinese engaged in different occupations. Thus 
the laundry-men and the cigar-makers have organi- 
zations, with heavy fees from the members, power 
over the common interests of the business, and an 
occasional festivity. 

The impressions these people make upon the 
American mind, after close observation of their 
habits, are very mixed and contradictory. They 
unite to many of the attainments and knowledge 
of the highest civilization, in some of which they 
are models for ourselves, many of the incidents and 
most of the ignorance of a simple barbarism. It 
may yet prove that we have as much to learn from 
them as they from us. Certainly here in this great 
field, this western half "of our continental Nation, 
their diversified labor is a blessing and a neces- 
sity. It is all, perhaps more even, than the Irish 
and the Africans have been and are to our east- 
ern wealth and progress. At the first, at least, 
they have greater adaptability and perfection than 
either of these classes of laborers, to whom we 
are so intimately and sometimes painfully accus- 
tomed. 



248 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

There are quite a number of heavy mercantile 
houses here in the hands of the Chinese. The 
managers are intelhgent, superior men. Their busi- 
ness is in supphes for their countrymen and in teas 
and silks and curiosities for the Americans. They 
import by the hundreds of thousands, even miUions, 
yearly ; and their reputation for fair and honest deal- 
ing is above that of the American merchants gen- 
erally. These are the men, with the presidents of 
the six companies, into which the whole Chinese 
population is organized, as I have described, with 
whom Mr. Colfax and his friends dined last night. 
There were formalities and negotiations enough in 
the preliminary arrangements of the entertainment 
to have sufficed for a pacification of Kentucky poli- 
tics, or the making of a new map of Europe ; but 
when these were finally adjusted, questions of pre- 
cedence among the Chinese settled, and a proper 
choice made among the many Americans who were 
eager to be bidden to the feast, all went as smooth 
as a town school examination that the teacher has 
been drilling for a month previous. 

The party numbered from fifty to sixty, half Chi- 
nese, half white folks. The dinner was given in 
the second story of a Chinese restaurant, in a lead- 
mg street of the city. Our hosts were fine-looking 
men, with impressive manners. While their race 
generally seems not more than two-thirds the size 
of our American men, these were nearly if not quite 
as tall and stout as their guests. Their eyes and 
their faces beamed with intelligence, and they were 
quick to perceive everything, and alert and ait fait 



THE CHINESE " PIGEON-ENGLISH, 249 

in all courtesies and politeness. An interpreter was 
present for the heavy talking ; but most of our Chi- 
nese entertainers spoke a little English, and we 
got on well enough so far as that was concerned ; 
though handshaking and bowing and scraping and a 
general flexibility of countenance, bodies and limbs 
had a very large share of the conversation to per- 
form. Neither here nor in China is it common for 
the English and Americans to learn the Chinese 
language. The Chinese can and do more readily 
acquire ours, sufficiently at least for all business in- 
tercourse. Their broken or "pigeon" English, as 
it is called, is often very grotesque, and always very 
simple. Here is a specimen — a "pigeon-English" 
rendering of " My name is Norval," etc. : — 

My namee being Norval topside that Glampian Hillee, 
My father you sabee my father, makee pay chow-chow he sheep, 
He smallo heartee man, too muched take care that dolla, gallo .'' 
So fashion he wantchee keep my, counta one piece chilo stope he 

own side, 
My no wantchee long that largee mandoli, go knockee alia man ; 
Littee turn Joss pay my what thing my father no like pay 
That mourn last nightee get up loune, alia same my hat, 
No go full up, no got square ; that plenty piece 
That lobbie man, too muchee qui-si, alia same that tiger, 
Chop-chop come down that hillee, catchie that sheep long that cow. 
That man, custom take care, too muchie quick lun av/ay. 
My one piecie owne spee eye, look see that ladloue man what side 

he walkee, 
Hi-yah ! No good chancie, findie he, lun catchie my flew : 
Too piecie loon choon lun catchie that lobbie man ! he 
No can walkee welly quick, he pocket too much full up. 
So fashion knockee he largee. 

He head man no got shutte far 
My knockie he head, Hi-yah ! my No. i strong man, 
Catchie he jacket, long he toousa, galo ! You likee look see ? 

II* 



250 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

My no likee takee care that sheep, so fashion my hear you got 

fightee this side. 
My takee one servant, come your country, come helpie you, 
He heart all same cow, too muchie fear lun away. 
Masquie, Joss take care pay my come you house. 

• 

We were seated for the dinner around little round 
tables, six to nine at the table, and hosts and guests 
evenly mixed. There was a profusion of elegant 
China dishes on each table ; each guest had two or 
three plates and saucers, all delicate and small. 
Choice sauces, pickles, sweetmeats and nuts were 
plentifully scattered about. Each guest had a sau- 
cer of flowers, a China spoon or bowl with a handle, 
and a pair of chop-sticks, httle round and smooth 
ivory sticks about six inches long. Chi Sing-Tong, 
President of the San Yup Company, presided at Mr. 
Colfax's table. 

Now the meal began.. It consisted of three dif- 
ferent courses, or dinners rather, between which was 
a recess of half an hour, when we retired to an ante- 
room, smoked and talked, and listened to the simple, 
rough, barbaric music from coarse guitar, viol drum, 
and violin, and meanwhile the tables were reset and 
new food provided. 

Each course or dinner comprised a dozen to 
twenty different dishes, served generally one at a 
time, though sometimes two were brought on at 
once. There were no joints, nothing to be carved. 
Every article of food was brought on in quart bowls, 
in a sort of hash form. We dove into it with our 
chop-sticks, which, well handled, took up about a 
mouthful, and, transferring this to our plates, worked 



THE CHOP-STICKS, AND THE FOOD. 25 I 

the chop-Sticks again to get it or parts of it to our 
mouths. No one seemed to take more than a single 
taste or mouthful of each dish ; so that, even if one 
relished the food, it would need something like a 
hundred different dishes to satisfy an ordinary ap- 
petite. Some of us took very readily to the chop- 
sticks ; others did^ not, — perhaps were glad they 
could not ; and for these a Yankee fork was pro- 
vided, and our Chinese neighbors at the table were 
also prompt to offer their own chop-sticks to place 
a bit of each dish upon our plates. But as these 
same chop-sticks were also used to convey food 
into the mouths of the Chinese, the service did not 
always add to the relish of the food. 

These were the principal dishes served for the 
first course, and in the order named : Fried shark's 
fins and grated ham, stewed pigeon with bamboo 
soup, fish sinews with ham, stewed chicken with 
water-cress, sea-weed, stewed ducks and bamboo 
soup, sponge cake, omelet cake, flower cake and 
banana fritters, bird-nest soup, tea. The meats 
seemed all alike ; they had been dried or preserved 
in some way ; were cut up into mouthfuls, and de- 
pended for all savoriness upon their accompani- 
ments. The sea-weed, shark's fins and the like had 
a glutinous sort of taste; not repulsive, nor very 
seductive. The sweets were very delicate, but like 
everything else had a very artificial flavor ; every 
article, indeed, seemed to have had its original and 
real taste and strength dried or cooked out of it, 
and a common Chinese flavor put into it. The 
bird-nest soup looked and tasted somewhat as a 



252 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

very delicate vermicelli soup does. The tea was 
delicious, — it was served without milk or sugar, did 
not need any such amelioration, and was very re- 
freshing. Evidently it was made from the most 
delicate leaves or flowers of the tea plant, and had 
escaped all vulgar steeping or boiling. 

During the first recess, the presidents of the com- 
panies, — the chief entertainers, — took their leave, 
and the merchants assumed the post of leading 
hosts ; such being the fashion of the people. The 
second dinner opened with cold tea, and a white, 
rose-scented liquor, very strong, and served in tiny 
cups, and went on with lichens and a fungus-like 
moss, more shark's fins, stewed chestnuts and chick- 
ens, Chinese oysters, yellow and resurrected from 
the dried stage, more fungus stewed, a stew of flour 
and white nuts, stewed mutton, roast ducks, rice 
soup, rice and ducks' eggs and pickled cucumbers, 
ham and chicken soup. Between the second and 
third parts, there was an exchange of compliment- 
ary speeches by the head Chinaman and Mr. Col- 
fax, at which the interpreter had to officiate. The 
third and last course consisted of a great variety of 
fresh fruits ; and the unique entertainment ended 
about eleven o'clock, after a sitting of full five 
hours. The American resident guests furnished 
champagne and claret, and our Chinese hosts, in- 
variably at the entrance and departure of each dish, 
invited us, with a gracious bow, to a sip thereof, in 
the which they all faithfully joined themselves. 

The dinner was unquestionably a most magnifi- 
cent one after the Chinese standard; the dishes 



A RESCUE BY THE POLICE. 253 

were many of them rare and expensive ; and every- 
thing was served in elegance and taste. It was a 
curious and interesting experience, and one of the 
rarest of the many courtesies extended to Mr. Col- 
fax on this coast. • But as to any real gastronomic 
satisfaction to be derived from it, I certainly " did ~ 
not see it." Governor Bross's fidelity to the great 
principle of "when you are among the Romans to 
do as the Romans do," led him to take the mxal 
seriatim, and eat of everything ; but my own per- 
sonal experience is perhaps the best commentary 
to be made upon the meal, as a meal. I went to 
the table weak and hungry ; but I found the one 
universal odor and flavor soon destroyed all appe- 
tite ; and I fell back resignedly on a constitutional 
incapacity to use the chop-sticks, and was sitting 
with a grim politeness through dinner num.ber two, 
when there came an angel in* disguise to my relief 
The urbane chief of police of the city appeared and 
touched my shoulder : "There is a gentleman at the 
door who wishes to see you, and would have you 
bring your hat and coat." There were visions of 
violated city ordinances and "assisting" at the po- 
lice court next morning. I thought, too, what a 
polite way this man has of arresting a stranger to 
the city. But, bowing my excuses to my pig-tail 
neighbor, I went joyfully to the unknown tribunal. 
A friend, a leading banker, who had sat opposite to 
me during the evening, and had been called out a 
few moments before, welcomed me at the street 

door with': "B -, I knew you were suffering, and 

w-ere hungry — let us go and get something to eat — 



254 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

a good square meal ! " So we crossed to an Ameri- 
can restaurant; the lost appetite came back; and 
mutton chops, squabs, fried potatoes and a bottle 
of champagne soon restored me. My friend in- 
sisted that the second course of the Chinese dinner 
was only the first warmed over, and that that was 
the object of the recess. However that might be, — 
this is how I went to the grand Chinese dinner, and 
went out, when it was two-thirds over, and "got 
something to eat" 



LETTER XXIV. 

THE GREAT THEME: THE PACIFIC RAILROAD. 



San Francisco, August 20. 
To feel the importance of the Pacific Railroad, 
to measure the urgency of its early completion, to 
become impatient with government and contractor 
at every delay in the work, you must come across 
the Plains and the Mountains to the Pacific Coast. 
Then you will see half a Continent waiting for its 
vivifying influences. You will witness a boundless 
agriculture, fickle and hesitating for lack of the reg- 
ular markets this would give. You will find mineral 
wealth, immeasurable, locked up, wastefully worked, 
or gambled away, until this shall open to it abun- 
dant labor, cheap capital, wood, vv^ater, science, ready 
oversight, steadiness of production, — everything 
that shall make mining a certainty and not a 
chance. You will find the world's commerce with 
India and China eagerly awaiting its opportunities. 
You will see an illimitable field for manufactures 
unimproved for want of its stimulus and its advan- 
tages. You will feel hearts breaking, see morals 
struggling slowly upward against odds, know that 
religion languishes ; feel, see and know that all the 



256 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

sweetest and finest influences and elements of so- 
ciety and Christian civilization hunger and suffer 
for the lack, of this quick contact with the Parent 
and Fountain of all our national life. 

It is touching to remember that between Plains 
and Pacific, in country and on coast, on the Colum- 
bia, on the Colorado, through all our long journey, 
the first question asked of us by every man and wo- 
man we have met, — whether rich or poor, high or 
humble, — has been, " When do you think the Pacific 
Railroad will be done.-*" or, "Why don't or won't 
the government, now the war is over, put the sol- 
diers to building this road } " — and their parting ap- 
peal and injunction, as well, "Do build this Pacific 
Road for us as soon as possible,-^we wait, every- 
thing waits for that." Tender-eyed women, hard- 
fisted men, — pioneers, or missionaries, the martyrs 
and the successful, — all alike feel and speak this sen- 
timent. It is the hunger, the prayer, the hope of 
all these people. Hunger and prayer and hope for 
" Home," and what home can bring them, in cheap 
and ready passage to and from, of reunion with par- 
ent and brother and sister and friend, of sight of 
old valley and mountain and wood, of social influ. 
ence, of esthetic elevation, of worldly stimulus and 
prosperity. "Home," they all here call the East 
It is a touching and pathetic, though almost un- 
conscious, tribute. Such an one "is going home 
next spring ; " "I hope to go home another year ; ' 
"When I was home last;" "I have never been 
home since I came out ; " " I am afraid I shall never 
go home again;" — these and kindred phrases are 



THE NATIONS NEED. 25/ 

the current forms of speech. Home is not here, 
but there. The thought of home is ever rolled, 
like a sweet morsel, under the tongues of their 
souls. 

Here is large appeal both to the sympathy and 
foresight of the eastern States. Here is present 
bond of union and means for perpetuating it. To 
build the railroad, and freshen recollection and re- 
new association of the original emigrants, and to 
])ind by travel and contact the children here with 
the homes and lives and loves of their parents there : 
this is the cheapest, surest and sweetest way to pre- 
serve our nationality, and continue the Republic a 
unit from ocean to ocean. A sad and severe trial will 
ensue to the Union if a generation grows up here 
that ^' knows not Joseph." The centrifugal forces 
will ever be in hot action between the far-separated 
eastern and western sections of the Nation. First 
among the centripetal powers is the Pacific Rail- 
road, and every year of its delay increases tenfold 
its burden ; every year's postponement weakens in 
equal degree the influences here by which it shall 
operate. 

What is doing to supply this great want of Pa- 
cific progress and civilization and national unity.? 
What are the possibilities and probabilities of the 
great continental railway .? are what you will wish 
to know from me. Our journey has lain along its 
most natural commercial route ; we started from its 
eastern terminus on the Missouri border ; we kept 
in the main line of population and travel, which it 
is desirable for it to follow; we finished our ride 



258 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

upon its beginnings at this end ; and we have every- 
where had the subject forced upon our thought, and 
made it constant study. Many of the obstacles to 
the great work grew feeble in travel over its line. 
Want of timber, of water, of coal for fuel; the 
steep grades and high ascents of the two great 
continental ranges of mountains to be crossed, the 
Rocky and the Sierras ; and the snows they will 
accumulate upon the track in the winter months, — 
these are the suggested and apparent difficulties to 
the building and operating of the Pacific Railroad. 
There is plenty of good timber in the mountains ; 
and the soft cotton-wood of the Plains can be kyan- 
ized (hardened by a chemical process), so as to make 
sound sleepers and ties. There are sections of 
many miles, even perhaps of two hundred, over 
which the timber will have to be hauled ; but the 
road itself can do this as it progresses, — taking 
along over the track built to-day the timber arid 
rails for that to be built to-morrow. As to water, 
artesian wells are sure to find it in the vacant desert 
stretches, which are neither so long nor so barren 
of possible water as has been supposed 

The fuel question is perhaps more difficult to 
solve as yet. The Sierras will furnish wood in 
abundance, and cheaply, for all the western end ; 
we know there is coal in the Rocky Mountains ; 
and we were told almost everywhere over the en- 
tire line that it had been, or could undoubtedly be 
found, — in Kansas, on the Plains, among the hills 
of the deserts. But suppose the supplies of food 
for steam have to be carried over a few hundred 



ROUTES OVER THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 259 

miles of the road, east and west from the Sierras 
and the Rocky Mountains ; that is not so hard a 
matter, — =certainly nothing to daunt or hesitate the 
enterprise. We shall soon learn, too, to make 
steam from petroleum; and that is easily trans- 
ported for long distances ; besides which, prospect- 
ors are finding it everywhere from Missouri to Pa- 
cific. Build the road, and the intermediate country 
will speedily find the means for running it. 

Now as to difficulties of construction, heavy 
grades and high mountains, and the winter snows 
as obstacles to continuous use. 

The first third of the line, from the Missouri 
River to the Rocky Mountains, is mere baby-work. 
Three hundred men will grade it as fast as the iron 
can be laid. It is a level, natural roadway, with 
very little bridging, and no want of water. It is a 
shame all this section is not finished and running 
already. The first of January, 1867, ought now to 
be the limit for its completion. From here to Salt 
Lake, over the Rocky Mountains, there are appar- 
ently no greater obstacles to be overcome than your 
Western Road from Springfield to Albany, the Erie 
and the Pennsylvania Central have triumphantly 
and profitably surmounted. There are various con- 
testing routes ; northerly by the North Platte and 
the South Pass ;' by the South Platte and Bridger's 
Pass, which is the route we traveled in the stage ;— 
or more direct still, from Denver through the pres- 
ent gold mining region of Colorado by Clear Creek 
and over the Berthoud Pass ; or again by a kindred 
route to the last, up Boulder Creek and over Boul- 



260 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

der Pass, both these last two entering the " Middle 
Park" of the Mountains, and through that to the 
head waters of the Salt Lake Basin. The Berthoud 
and Boulder Pass routes would probably involve 
higher grades and more rock cutting, and in winter 
deeper snows ; but they would pass through a richer 
country, avoid the deserts of the north, and save at 
least one hundred miles of distance. A new road 
for the overland stages is this very season being 
cut through the Berthoud Pass route by the help 
of United States soldiers from Utah ; and the stage 
line is expected to be transferred to it next spring. 
But by the Bridger or South Pass routes, the rail- 
road can surmount the eastern slope of the Rocky 
Mountains with the greatest ease. Our stage teams 
trotted up the hardly perceptible grades by the 
Bridger route without any effort. Coming down 
into Salt Lake Valley, there would be rougher 
work; but there are several considerable streams 
along whose banks the track could be brought, I 
am sure, with no greater labor or expense than 
has been incurred in a dozen cases by our eastern 
railroads. 

From Salt Lake to the Sierra Nevadas are two 
routes ; southerly through the center of Nevada, 
and striking Austin and Virginia City, the centers 
of the silver mining region, — whi(!h is the present 
stage and telegraph route, — and northerly by the 
Humboldt River. The former would pass more 
directly through the chief present and prospective, 
populations ; but it would encounter a dozen or 
fifteen ranges of hills to be crossed, and find little 



OVER THE SIERRAS. 26 1 

wood and scant water. The Humboldt route would 
be more cheaply built, and goes through a naturally 
better country as to wood, water and fertility of soil. 
It is generally conceded to be the true natural road- 
way across the Continent. The emigration has 
always taken it. If the railroad is built through 
it, Virginia City and Austin will be reached by 
branches dropping down to them through their 
neighboring valleys. 

Now we reach the California border, and the 
toughest part of the work of the railroad, — the high- 
reaching, far- spreading, rock -fastened, and snow- 
covered Sierra Nevadas. But the difficulties here 
are mitigated by plenty of water and timber, and 
by the near presence of an energetic population, 
and are already being practically overcome by the 
energy and perseverance of the California Pacific 
Railroad organization. I only wish the East would 
get to Salt Lake with their rail so soon as the West 
can and will with theirs. It is not gratifying to 
eastern pride, indeed, to see how much more Cali- 
fornia, with its scant capital, its scarce labor, and 
its depressed industry and interests, is doing to 
solve this great practical problem of the conti- 
nental railway, than your abounding wealth and 
teeming populations of the East, with a great net- 
work of railroads from the Atlantic, all needing and 
professing to seek an outlet west to the Pacific 
Coast. 

Let me state the condition of the work on each 
end the line. 

Congress has given princely bounties to the en- 



262 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

terprise, all that could be expected, everything that 
was asked. Government bonds are loaned to it 
to the amount of sixteen thousand dollars a mile 
through the plains and forty-eight thousand dollars 
a mile in the mountains ; besides which half of all 
the land each side of the road for twenty miles 
deep is donated outright to the companies doing 
the work. The Union Pacific Railroad company is 
recognized at the East, and the Central Pacific Rail- 
road company here, as entitled to this bounty, and 
are respectively authorized to construct the road 
from their starting points until they meet. The 
companies are further authorized to issue their own 
bonds to an equal amount to those granted by the 
government, and secure them by a first mortgage ; 
the government loan taking the second place in 
security. 

The business of supplying the populations of Col- 
orado, Utah and Montana, — at least one hundred 
and fifty thousand persons, — invites the speedy con- 
struction of the road from the East. This busi- 
ness for 1 864 is estimated at forty million pounds, 
and for 1 865 at two hundred millions, and empjoyed 
last year nine thousand wagons, fifty thousand cat- 
tle, sixteen thousand horses and mules and ten thou- 
sand men as drivers, laborers and guards ; and the 
sum paid for freight in the former year is estimated 
by one authority at enough to build the railroad 
the entire distance at a cost of forty-eight thousand 
dollars the mile ! And during the months of May 
and June, this year, counting both the emigration 
and the freight trains, there passed west over the 



THE ROAD OVER THE PLAINS. 263 

Plains full ten thousand teams and fifty thousand 
to sixty thousand head of stock, according to data 
furnished from Fort Laramie and the junction of 
the overland routes on the Platte River. The ship- 
ment of supplies for the United States troops on 
the Plains and in the Mountains this season is alone 
over eleven million pounds. 

All these statistics may not be perfectly accurate ; 
but they have a substantial basis of fact, and with 
such generous gifts as the government makes, and 
with such large railway interests behind to be ben- 
efited by farther extension of railway lines to the 
west, they would seem to justify and to demand a 
rapid construction of the road out from the Mis- 
souri River, especially when for the first five hun- 
dred to six hundred miles of that road, there is 
scarcely more required than to scrape a place in 
the soft soil for sleepers and ties and iron. And 
yet, though three to four years have passed since 
the company accepted the bargain of the govern- 
ment and assumed its responsibilities, not a mile 
of the main road is running from the Missouri west. 
The lower branch from Kansas City is open to 
Lawrence, forty miles, and graded to Topeka, sixty 
miles ; but from Atchison and Omaha there is no 
iron down, and only small sections graded or half 
graded. 

Is it said that by the government flooding the 
markets with better classes of its securities, there 
was no sale for the bonds allotted for this work, and 
so no means for its construction ? The reply is that 
no set of men should step forward to accept this 



264 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

largess and undertake this enterprise, holding such 
oure profits in its future, that have not at least a 
million or two of their own to make a beginning 
with. Has the war absorbed all labor and capital 
during these years.'* Other railroads have been 
built meantime, and labor was cheaper on the Plains 
than in California. Beside, here are six months 
since the war ended, and the end witnesses no 
marked progress, no larger activity, than the begin- 
ning. 

I know nothing of the men who form the Pacific 
Railroad Company of the East; I suspect their 
names are more familiar to Wall street than to the 
West or the railroad world ; but I do know that all 
I could see or hear of them and their work, along 
the route of the continental 'railway, did not indi- 
cate either the earnestness or the power that should 
accompany their position, their responsibilities and 
their opportunities. After leaving the Missouri 
River, indeed, they offered no sign of life except in 
a single small party of engineers in Salt Lake City, 
who were on a straggling hunt for the best route 
through the Rocky Mountains, but who seemed to 
have no proper leadership, and no clear purpose, 
and in fact confessed that the company had no chief 
engineer worthy the name or position. 

Plere in California, however, there is more life 
and progress. Energy and capital are not perhaps 
the best directed possible ; there has been and still 
is somewhat of controversy and waste of power as 
to the true route; but there is earnestness and 
movement of the risfht sort, and the track is fast 



THE ROAD OUT FROM CALIFORNIA. 265 

ascending the Sierras on its progress eastward. It 
has no immediate way business to tempt it but the 
trade of Nevada with thirty thousand population, — 
much less, therefore, than that which invites the 
laying of the rails across the prairies to the Rocky 
Mountains, — but this business has constructed and 
amply paid for two fine toll-roads over the Sierras, 
and was, until a few days ago, building two railroads 
in their tracks. There being free water carriage 
from San Francisco to Sacramento, these rival 
roads (both carriage and rail), have their base at 
the latter point, and branch off right and left into 
the mountains, and cross the summit of the latter 
some thirty or forty miles apart, coming together 
again at a common point in Nevada on the other 
side, namely, Virginia City. The distance between 
Sacramento and Virginia City is about the same, 
one hundred and sixty miles, by each road; and 
their rivalry has given excellent accommodations 
for travel and traffic, and helped to push forward 
the railroad tracks on both lines. 

The original and heretofore most popular wagon 
road was that by Placerville and Lake Tahoe, over 
which we came into the State, as already described. 
The railway track on its line is now laid about 
forty miles from Sacramento or n'early to Placer- 
ville, which is among the foot-hills of the moun- 
tains. During the "flush" times of Nevada, 1862 
and 1863, the business done over this line was 
immense ; in the latter year about twelve millions 
dollars were paid for freights alone, — the cost of 
transportation being from five to ten cents a 



266 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

pound, — and the tolls on teams, received by the 
constructors of the wagon road, amounted to six 
hundred thousand dollars. The charge for a single 
team is about thirty dollars; and in 1864, when the 
business was much less than before, no less than 
seven thousand teams passed over this Placerville 
route; carrying all kinds of food and merchandise 
and machinery over into Nevada, but coming back 
nearly empty. 

As showing how great and wasteful was and still 
is the cost of doing business in Nevada under such 
circumstances, it has been carefully estimated that 
the famous Gould &: Curry silver mine at Virgmia 
City would have saved two millions dollars in ex- 
penses in a single year, had a railroad been built 
and running over the mountains. The production 
of the mine that year was four millions and a half 
of dollars, but its expenses absorbed three millions 
and a half, leaving only one million profit to stock- 
holders, against three millions, probably, had there 
been ready and cheap communication with the San 
Francisco markets. 

The staging and freighting over these mountain 
toll roads are performed in the most perfect style, 
however. The freight wagons are bigger and 
stronger than anything ever seen in the East ; gen- 
erally a smaller one is attached as a tender to the 
main wagon ; ten to twelve large and strong mules 
or horses, in fine condition, constitute the usual 
team ; and the load ranges from five to ten tons. 
To each mule in the best teams a large bell is at- 
tached, and they are trained to keep step to their 



TRAVEL AND TRAFFIC OVER THE SIERRAS. 26/ 

music, and so pull and move uniformly. Frequently 
the road will be filled with these teams for a quarter 
and a half mile, and the turning out for them is the 
only interruption to the steady trot or the grand 
gallop of the six-horse stage teams that, attached to 
the best of Concord coaches, usually loaded with 
passengers, go half-flying over these well-graded 
mountain roads, three to four each way daily. The 
stage horses are sleek and fat, gay as larks, changed 
every ten miles, and do their work as if they really 
loved it. The Placerville road is watered through- 
out nearly its whole line by sprinkling carts, in the 
same way as the streets of a city are wet in the dry 
summer season ; and luxurious as this seems and is, 
— for the dust is otherwise most fearful,— it is found 
to be the cheapest way of keeping the road itself in 
good repair. When dry, the heavy teams cut up 
the track most terribly. 

But these horses are running away with the loco- 
motive, which is -my main theme to-day. The tival 
of the Placerville route, though opened since, has 
won the title and the government bounty of the 
Pacific Railroad, and has this season pushed its iron 
track ahead of the former, and so henceforth must 
have every advantage for both traffic and travel. 
Indeed, within a few days, its friends have bought 
a controlling interest in the railway section of the 
Placerville route, and will probably put a veto upon 
the construction of the latter beyond that town. It 
is called the Dutch Flat and Donner Lake route, as 
well as the Central Pacific Railroad, and lies to the 
north of the other. Its fine was selected by the late 



268 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Mr. T. D. Judah, who has left a very enviable repu- 
tation in California both for personal integrity and 
professional ability as an engineer, after a thorough 
examination of other lines and passes over the 
mountains; and having gained, mainly by his in- 
dorsement, the approval of Congress, and the sup- 
port and bounty, also, of San Francisco and Sacra- 
mento, it has readily achieved these decided advan- 
tages over its rival, which has been sustained only 
by private capital and the profits of its toll-road. 
Mr. Judah, who died after having estabhshed the 
general route of the Pacific Road and secured its 
indorsement by Congress, was an assistant engineer 
in the construction of your Connecticut River Rail- 
road in Massachusetts, and married a Greenfield 
lady. His reputation is one of the main bulwarks 
of the friends of his road, in the bitter controversy 
that has raged between them and the advocates of 
the Placerville route ; and, though this contest now 
seems nearly over under the triuniph of the upper 
route, many of the most intelligent citizens of the 
State still contend that the Placerville line is the 
easiest and safest for the railroad track. Our own 
superficial examination of the two routes tended to 
this conclusion, also ; but it is too late, now, to argue 
that question. The Judah or Dutch Flat Route has 
got the name and the means, and is being pushed 
over the mountains with commendable vigor and 
rapidity ; and it is wise for California and the coun- 
try alike to sustain it, and secure its completion as 
early as possible. This accomplished, the other may 
and probably will be extended over into Nevada, and 



TRACK ON THE SUMMIT OF THE SIERRAS. 269 

already there is agitation to secure government 
bounty in its behalf. 

Our party made a very profitable and interesting 
excursion over the route of the Central Pacific Road 
from Sacramento to Donner Lake, on the eastern 
slope of the mountains, by special train and coaches, 
and along the working sections on horseback. The 
track is graded and laid, and trains are running to 
the new town ol Colfax (named for the Speaker), 
which is fifty-six miles from Sacramento, Grading 
IS now in active progress on the next two sections, 
to Dutch Flat, twelve miles, and the Crystal Lake, 
thirteen miles farther, with a force of about four 
thousand laborers, mostly Chinese. Though these 
sections are through a very rough and rocky coun- 
try, the work will certainly be done to Dutch Flat 
by spring, and Crystal Lake early next fall. Then 
the rails are within fifteen miles of the summit of 
the Sierras. The toughest job of the whole line 
lies in these fifteen miles up, and the three or four 
miles down to Donner Lake, on the other side. 
This must hang on for two or three years, it seems 
to me ; there will be some tunneling, probably, and 
much heavy rock-cutting; for several miles along 
the summit, which is seven thousand feet above the 
sea level, the road must apparently be cut into a 
wall of solid rock, and then be covered by a roof to 
keep off the snows ; — but the later surveys soften 
the anticipated severity of the work, and the com- 
pany and its contractors are sanguine of mastering 
all the difficulties of the summit sections in two 
years. 



270 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

The wagon-road goes down. from the summit to 
Donner Lake at the rate of about four hundred feet 
to the mile, and the railway track will have to be 
wound in and out on the mountain sides for ten or 
more miles in order to get ahead two or three, and 
reach the level of the lake, whence it can be run 
readily down by the Truckee River into the valleys 
and plains of Nevada. The road ascends the moun- 
tains on this side by a very regular and nearly uni- 
form grade, never exceeding one hundred and five 
feet to the mile, which is less than the highest 
grades of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, to 
which the act of Congress limits this road. In 
going down the other side, no grade will exceed 
one hundred and five feet, and after reaching Don- 
ner Lake the grade will be reduced to forty feet. 
But the company does not purpose to wait for the 
full construction of the track over the summit be- 
fore pushing the work on the line beyond. While 
that is advanced as fast as possible, they will com- 
mence next spring at Donner Lake and proceed 
down the mountains and out into and through Ne- 
vada as rapidly as may be, eager to absorb as much 
of the whole enterprise, and meet the road coming 
west at a point as far east as they can. 

So far the company have used none of the United 
States bonds or lands granted by Congress in aid 
of the work. Some two and a half millions in these 
bonds are now due. The company can issue a 
equal amount of their own bonds guaranteed by 
preceding or first mortgage; but none of thes. 
also, have yet been used. They also have availa> 



THE FINANCIAL STRENGTH OF THE ROAD. 27 1 

a million and a half of other bonds on which the 
State of California pays seven per cent, interest in 
gold for twenty years. Here are six millions and a 
half of good securities now on hand for prosecuting 
the work, besides what is earned as the road pro- 
gresses, and the power to anticipate the issue of 
their own first mortgage bonds at the rate of forty- 
eight thousand dollars for a mile of mountains and 
sixteeh thousand dollars for a mile of plain, for one 
hundred miles in advance of construction. The 
work so far has been done out of about a million of 
paid-up stock, and subscriptions of the county of 
Sacramento of three hundred thousand dollars, the 
county of Placer of two hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars, and of San Francisco of four hundred thou- 
sand dollars, and the profits of that part of the road 
in running order. Of these sums, nearly half a 
million is still left, and as the road has goncvso far 
as to substantially secure a monopoly of all the 
business over the mountains, the profits on its com- 
pleted section will be constantly increasing. Then, 
besides all this, there are between eighteen and 
nineteen millions of the twenty millions capital 
stock of the road, yet unsubscribed for. Sometime, 
though not at present, this will be paying property ; 
and it may suffice even now for the profits of the 
contractors. The company thus feel strong finan- 
cially, and though much of their securities are not 
just now marketable except at a discount, they are 
confident there need be no further delay for the 
lack of means, and are increasing their working 
force upon the road as fast as laborers can be had. 



2/2 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

All the Chinese that offer, or that can be encouraged 
to emigrate from home, are employed, and it is ex- 
pected that five thousand will be at work on the 
road before the present season closes. 

These details are very long, but I trust are not 
altogether tedious or uninteresting. The theme 
presses itself upon us more deeply, more solemnly, 
than any one other offered by our journey and its 
observations. It is pathetic and painful, as •! said 
in the beginning, in the solicitude and anxiety it 
awakens here among the people, and which we can- 
not help but share. There is really nothing unrea- 
sonable in demanding that rails should be laid and 
trains running over half the line between the Pacific 
Ocean and the Missouri River in two years and a 
half, over two-thirds of it another year, and the en- 
tire distance, unbroken, in five years. There are 
short sections in the mountains that may require 
three, or even five years to work them out ; but the 
great bulk of the way can be graded and laid with 
rails in three years. The California Pacific railroad 
company, led by some of the best men in the State, 
with Ex-Governor Stanford for president, say, calmly 
and distinctly, in their annual report just published, 
that they will take their completed line into Salt 
Lake City in three years from date. I believe they 
can and will do it, with anything like an easy money 
and labor market. And it is just as practicable for 
the road from the East to reach the Rocky Moun- 
tains in twelve' or eighteen months, and to span 
these mountains in two years more. 

Next spring should see as many men at work on 



FINAL APPEAL FOR THE RAILROAD. 273 

the eastern line as there will be on the western ; the 
fall, fifteen to twenty thousand along its entire route ; 
1867 should count fifty thousand shovels and picks 
and drills, leveling the paths for this national high- 
way ; and in i S6S the hungry hearts of these peo- 
ple of the Pacific States should dance to the music 
of a hundred thousand strong, — music sweeter far 
and holier even than that of all the martial bands 
of the new Republic. 

Men of the East! Men at Washington! You 
have given the toil and even the blood of a million 
of your brothers and fellows for four years, and 
spent three thousand million dollars, to rescue one 
section of the Republic from barbarism and from 
anarchy; and your triumph makes the cost cheap. 
Lend now a few thousand of men, and a hundred 
millions of money, to create a new Republic ; to 
marry to the Nation of the Atlantic an equal if not 
greater Nation of the Pacific. Anticipate a new 
sectionalism, a new strife, by a triumph of the arts 
of Peace, that shall be even prouder and more reach- 
ing than the victories of your Arms. Here is pay- 
ment of your great debt ; here is wealth unbounded ; 
here the commerce of the world ; here the comple- 
tion of a Republic that is continental ; but you must 
come and take them with the Locomotive! 
12* 18 



LETTER XXV. 

COUNTRY EXCURSIONS : THE GEYSERS : VINE- 
YARDS, AND AGRICULTURE. 



San Francisco, August 28. 
Perhaps this is the least pleasant month of the 
twelve to see San Francisco and California in, — the 
dryest and dreariest and dustiest, when Nature is 
at rest ; yet we find more to see, more delightful 
journeys to make into the interior, than we have 
time for. In every direction, there is a novelty, a 
surprise for us ; everywhere Nature makes strange 
and fascinating combinations, presents herself in 
new forms, outrages all our pre-educated ideas as 
to her laws and habits, and yet everywhere, as ever, 
is impressive and beautiful. These valleys inside 
the Coast range of mountains about San Francisco 
are particularly rich in novelty and beauty, and have 
been the theater of several very delightful excur- 
sions by our party since we came back from the 
Yosemite. They form the garden of California, 
agriculturally, and their nearness' to the central 
market, and their fertile soil, have made them to 
be the best improved and the most steadily, pro- 
gressive in wealth and population of all the interior 
sections of the State. 



THE NATURAL DIVISIONS OF CALIFORNIA. 2/5 

California, as you will see by the map, is like a 
great basin or bowl, between two ranges of moun- 
tains. Along the Coast runs one ; and the Sierras, 
two hundred miles east, separate her from Nevada. 
The Golden Gate at San Francisco lets in the ocean 
and out her interior waters ; to the north from that 
city stretches the Sacramento River and its tributa- 
ries through a plain two hundred miles long and 
forty to fifty wide ; to the south, the San Joaquin 
(pronounced San Walk-in) repeats the same ; and 
the two, with all the drainage of the interior, all the 
inside waste of both ranges of mountains, meet 
above San P>ancisco, and spread out into the wide 
inland bays, twenty to fifty miles long and four to ten 
wide, that give to that city its beauty, its wealth, 
and its commerce ; and delaying here, they leisure- 
ly balance accounts with the ocean through its nar- 
row gateway. 

San Francisco hangs -over the edge of its chief- 
est, largest bay, like the oriole balancing on the 
crest of his long, pocket nest ; peeping around the 
corner into the Pacific, but opening wide eyes north 
and south and east, to the interior. To the north 
and south, the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys 
are shut in by the two ranges of mountains chas- 
sezing into each other. And this is California. 
The side valleys from the Sierras are the field of 
the gold diggings and the quartz mining; their 
mates over the way, inside the Coast range, and 
among its foot-hills, squeezing first and longest the 
spongy clouds from the ocean, get the most rain, 
and are the kindest to the husbandman ; while the 



2/6 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

broad, intermediate plains along the main rivers, 
wait somewhat on irrigation or a better understand- 
ing of the mysteries of their wealth. Every year's 
experience goes more and more to prove, however, 
that nature here does not forbid successful agricul- 
ture in withholding rain for six months of the year. 
The lav/s of her increase are peculiar ; but they are 
not h^rd. The vine does not need irrigation, nor 
the other fruits ; and the small grains are natural 
to hill and plain alike : and all ripen richly under 
the stimulus of the winter and spring moisture. 

Across the bay from San Francisco lies its sub- 
urb, Oakland, home of many of its best people. 
Here is one of the Coast valleys I have mentioned, 
thick with low-branching evergreen oaks, and soft- 
er in sky and air than the city ; here is quiet of 
country and cultivation of town ; here grows the 
"garden sauce" of the metropolis; here are its 
best seminaries and its hopeful college ; here, too, 
Fred Law Olmsted has planned on a large scale, 
and with novelties of arrangement' befitting the 
novelties of climate and verdure, a grand rural cem- 
etery ; and here Major Ralph W. Kirkham, whom 
Springfield sent to West Point a generation ago, 
and has been proud of ever since, has the most ele- 
gant house and home to be found anywhere on the 
Pacific Coast. Down the bay on the San Francisco 
side, through the San Jose (Ozay) valley and its 
villages and its culture, and around its base, and 
back on the Alameda and Oakland shore, forms 
one of the most interesting of our late excursions. 
It is a sweep of a hundred miles ; but railroads at 



THE SAN JOSE VALLEY. 2']'] 

beginning and end, — the arms which San Francisco 
is crooking around her intervening waters to stretch 
out, by way of Stockton, to Sacramento, and there 
welcome the continental cars, — helped us to make 
it leisurely in a day. 

Many an elegant country home, with orchards 
and gardens acres wide, showed the overflow of San 
Francisco wealth, as we rode down the San Josd 
valley ; miles of wheat fields proved how extensive 
are the plans of agriculture here; busy and pros- 
perous villages told of their sure and steady profit, 
— quite in contrast with the desolated look of most 
of the mining towns of the interior ; old and tumble- 
down mission-houses and churches, built of mud 
and stone, without wood or nails, and neighbor- 
ing orchards of ancient pear and fig trees, marked 
the old homes of Catholic and Spanish missionaries 
among the Indians ; modern convents and colleges 
holding up the cross, proved the presence of the 
same element, flexible in its character, and now 
offering perhaps the best education of the Coast to 
the children of our Puritan emigrants ; — everywhere 
was novelty, on every side beauty, though most of 
the hills were bare and brown ; and only the low, 
scraggy oaks, making park of field, and the culti- 
vated orchard fed the eye with green. The plain 
was everywhere yellow with the stubble of grain, or 
the wild oats that grow spontaneously on unoccu- 
pied hill and meadow all over California, or brown 
with the dry grass, that is hay ungathered, and rich 
feed still for cattle and horse ; and the hills, still of 
tnose beautifully rounded shapes, that I first recog- 



278 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

nized in Nevada, and are ever a surprise and a de- 
light to the eye, wearing the same colors of yellow 
and brown, blending into each other, and soft and 
rich under the bloom of a haze that belongs to the 
season and the shore ; — there was no avail in strug- 
gling against education and experience, — here was 
beauty and exhilarating life without rain for many 
inonths, without forests, without rivers, without 
green grass, or flowers. 

Similar and prolonged experience, with some 
added and fresh elements, came from a rapid three 
days' journey northerly from San Francisco to see 
the Geysers, or famous boiling springs, and the 
neighboring valleys famous for farms and fruits 
and vineyards. Captain Baxter's steamer "Peta- 
luma" took us up through San Puebla Bay, one of 
the widenings of the outcoming waters of the inte- 
rior, and Petaluma Creek, to the thriving town of 
the latter name. I took a sharp look at it because 
of its persistent desire to steal your neighbor. Rev. 
Mr. Harding, away from Longmeadow, for its own 
minister ; and found it one of the most prosperous 
and pleasant of California towns, at the foot of one 
of the richest agricultural regions of the Coast. 
The rest of the day we. rode through dryest dust 
and reposing nature, up through the Petaluma val- 
ley, and over into that of the Russian River, famous 
and pecuhar here for its especial kindliness to our 
Indian corn, also for its toothsome grouse, first 
cousin to our partridge ; stopping at the village of 
Healdsburg for brass band, speeches and supper, 
and. after a rapid hour's drive by moonlight, at a 



A RARE WHIP AND A RARE DRIVE. 279 

solitary ranch under the Geyser mountain for the 
night. 

Sunrise the next morning found us whirhng along 
a rough road over the mountains to the especial 
object of the excursion. But the drive of the morn- 
ing was the more remarkable feature. We supposed 
the Plains and Sierras had exhausted possibilities 
for us in that respect. But they were both outwit- 
ted here. For bold daring and brilliant execution, 
our driver this morning must take the palm of the 
world, I verily believe. The distance was twelve 
miles, up and down steep hills, through enclosed 
pastures ; the vehicle an open wagon, the passen- 
gers six, the horses four and gay, and changed once ; 
and the driver Mr. Clark T. Foss, our landlord over 
night and owner of the route. For several miles 
the road lay along "the hog's back," the crest of a 
mountain that ran away from the point or edge, 
like the sides of a roof several thousand feet to 
the ravines below; so narrow that, pressed down 
and widened as much as was possible, it was rarely 
over ten or twelve feet wide, and in one place but 
seven feet ; and winding about as the crest of the 
hill ran ; — and yet we went over this narrow cause- 
way on the full gallop. 

After going up and down several mountains, hold- 
ing rare views of valleys and ravines and peaks, 
under the shadows and mists of early morning, we 
came to a point overlooking the Geysers„ Far be- 
low in the valley, we could see the hot steam pour- 
ing out of the ground; and wide was the waste 
around. The descent was almost perpendicular ; 



280 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

the road ran down sixteen hundred feet m tne two 
miles to the hotel, and it had thirty-five sharp turns 
in its course : '' Look at your watch," said Mr. Foss, 
as he started on the steep decline; crack, crack 
went the whip over the heads of the leaders, as the 
sharp corners came in sight, and they plunged with 
seeming recklessness ahead, — and in nine vihmtcs 
a7id a half, they were pulled up at the bottom, and 
we took breath. Going back, the team was an hour 
and a quarter in the same passage. When we 
wondered at Mn Foss for his perilous and rapid 
driving down such a steep road, he said, "Oh, 
there's no danger or difficulty in it, — all it needs is 
to keep your head cool, and the leaders out of the 
way." But nevertheless I was convinced it not only 
does require a quick and cool brain, but a ready and 
strong and experienced hand. The whole morning 
ride was accomplished in two hours and a quarter ; 
and though everybody predicts a catastrophe from 
its apparent dangers, Mr. Foss has driven it, after 
this style, for many years, and never had an accident. 
The Geysers are exhausted in a couple of hours. 
They are certainly a curiosity, a marvel ; but there 
is no element of beauty; there is nothing to be 
studied, to grow into or upon you. We had seen 
something similar, though less extensive, in Neva- 
da ; and like a three-legged calf, or the Siamese 
twins, or P. T. Barnum, or James Gordon Bennett, 
once seeing is satisfactory for a life-time. They 
are a sort of grand natural chemical shop in disor- 
der. In a little ravine, branching off from the val- 
ley, is their principal theater. The ground is white 



THE GEYSERS — HELL EMBODIED^ 28 I 

and yellow and gray, porous and rotten, with long 
and high heat. The air is also hot and sulphurous 
to an unpleasant degree. All along the bottom of 
the ravine and up its sides, the earth seems hollow 
and full of boiling water. In frequent little cracks 
and pin holes it finds vent; and out of these it 
bubbles and emits steam like so many tiny tea- 
kettles at high tide. In one place the earth yawns 
wide, and the " Witches' Caldron," several feet in 
diameter, seethes and spouts a black, inky water, 
so hot as to boil an Qgg instantly, and capable of 
reducing a human body to pulp at short notice. 
The water is thrown up four to six feet in height, 
and the general effect is very devilish indeed. The 
" Witches' Caldron " is reproduced a dozen times 
in miniature, — handy little pools for cooking your 
breakfast and dinner, if they were only in your 
kitchen or back yard. Farther up you follow a 
puffing noise, exactly like that of a steamboat in 
progress, and you come to a couple of volumes of 
steam struggling out of tiny holes, but mounting 
high and spreading wide from their force and heat. 
You grow faint with .the heat and smells ; your 
feet seem burning; and the air is loaded with a 
mixture of salts, sulphur, iron, magnesia, soda, am- 
monia, all the chemicals and compounds of a doc- 
tor s shop. You feel as if the ground might any 
moment open, and let you down to a genuine hell. 
You recall the line from Milton, or somebody : 
'^ Here is hell, — myself am hell." And, most dread- 
ful of all, you lose all appetite for the breakfast of 
venison, trout and grouse that awaits your return 



282 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

to the hotel. So you struggle out of the ravine, 
every step among tiny volumes of steam, and over 
bubbling pools of water, and cool and refresh your- 
self among the trees on the mountain side beyond. 
Then, not to omit any sight, you go back through 
two other ravines where the same phenomena are 
repeated, though less extensively. All around by 
the hot pools and escape valves are delicate and 
beautiful little crystals of sulphur, and soda, and 
other distinct elements of the combustibles below, 
taking substance again on the surface. 

All this wonder-working is going on day and 
night, year after year, answering to-day exactly to 
the descriptions of yesterday and five years ago. 
Most of the waters are black as ink, and some as 
thick ; others are quite light and transparent ; and 
they are of all degrees of temperature from one 
hundred and fifty to five hundred. Near by, too, 
are springs of cool water; some as cold as these 
are hot, almost. The phenomena carries its own 
explanation ; the chemist will reproduce for you the 
same thing, on a small scale, by mixing sulphuric 
acid and cold water, and the other unkindred ele- 
ments that have here, in nature's laboratory, chanced 
to get together. Volcanic action is also most prob- 
ably connected with some of the demonstrations 
here. 

There must be utility in these waters for the cure 
of rheumatism and other blood and skin diseases. 
The Indians have long used some of the pools in 
this way, with results that seem like fables. One 
of the pools has fame for eyes ; and, with chemi- 



NAPA VALLEY: ITS SPRINGS AND BATHS. 28^ 

cal examination ani scientific application, doubtless 
large benefits might be reasonably assured among 
invalids fi-om a resort to these waters. At present 
there is only a rough little bathing-house, collecting 
the waters from the ravine, and the visitors to the 
valley, save for curiosity, are but few. It is a wild, 
unredeemed spot, all around the Geysers ; beautiful 
with deep forests, a mountain stream, and clear air. 
Game, too, abounds ; deer and grouse and trout 
seemed plentier than in any region we have visited. 
There is a comfortable hotel ; but otherwise this 
valley is uninhabited. The entire region for two 
nales in length and half a mile in breadth, in- 
cluding all the springs, is owned by one man, who 
oilers it for sale. Who would speculate in a mun- 
dane hell.'* 

Back on the route of our morning ride, we then 
turned off into the neighboring valley of Napa, 
celebrated for its agricultural beauty and produc- 
tiveness, and also for its Calistoga and Warm 
Springs, charmingly located, the one in the plains 
and the other close among mountains, and con- 
stituting the fashionable summer resorts for San 
Franciscans. The water is sulphurous ; the bath- 
ing delicious, softening the skin to the texture of a 
babe's ; the country charming : but we found both 
establishments, though with capacious head-quar- 
ters and numerous family cottages, almost deserted 
of people. 

Past farms and orchards, through parks of ever- 
green oak that looked as perfect as if the work of 
art, we stopped at the village of Napa, twin and 



284 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

rival to Petaluma, and from here, crossing another 
spur of the Coast range, we entered still another 
beautiful and fertile valley, that of Sonoma. 

Here are some of the largest vineyards of north- 
ern California, and we visited that of the Buena 
Vista Vinicultural society, under the management 
of Colonel Haraszthy, a Hungarian. This estate 
embraces about five thousand acres of land, a prince- 
ly-looking house, large wine manufactory and cel- 
lars, and about a million vines, foreign and native. 
The whole value of its property is half a million 
dollars, including one hundred thousand dollars' 
worth of wine and brandies ready and in prepara- 
tion for market. We tasted th6 liquors, we shared 
the generous hospitality of the estate, and its super- 
intendent ; but we failed to obtain, here or else- 
where, any satisfactory information as to the boasted 
success of wine-making, yet, in California. The 
business is still very much in its infancy, indeed ; 
and this one enterprise does not seem well-managed. 
Nor do we find the wines very inviting ; they par- 
take of the general character of the Rhine wines 
and the Ohio Catawba ; but are rougher, harsh and 
heady, — needing apparently both some improve- 
ment in culture and manufacture, and time for soft- 
ening. I have drank, indeed, much better California 
wine in Springfield than out here. 

The vine and wine interest is already a great one. 
and is rapidly growing. Nearly all parts of the 
State are favorable to it ; the deserted and exhausted 
gold fields of the Sierra Nevada valleys and hill- 
sides, as well as the valleys of the Coast range and 



CALIFORNIA WINES VS. CHAMPAGNE. 



^03 



the southern niountains„ Down in Los Angelos 
County, this season, though the grapes are twice as 
abundant as last year, the price is treble, because 
of the increased preparations for their manufacture, 
and the profit that is sure to be realized from the 
business when well-conducted. The Buena Vista 
vineyards have been making part of their wine into 
champagne the last year, and gratifying results are 
confidently predicted. 

But as doctors never take their own medicines, 
the true Californian is slow to drink his own wine. 
He prefers to import from France, and to export to 
the East ; and probably both kinds are improved 
by the voyages. More French wines are drank 
in California, twice over, than by the same popu- 
lation in any part of the eastern States. Cham- 
pagne is mother's milk, indeed, to all these people ; 
they start the day with "a champagne cock-tail," 
and go to bed with a full bottle of it under their 
ribs. At all the bar-rooms, it is sold by the glass, 
the same as any other liquor, and it answers to 
the general name of "wine" with both drinker and 
landlord. 

From Sonoma, over another hill, to our steam- 
boat of three days ago, and by that back in a few 
hours to the city. These three days seem long, 
they have been so rich in novelty and knowledge, 
in beauty of landscape, in acquaintanceship with 
the best riches of California. These valleys are, 
indeed, agricultural jewels, and should be held as 
prouder possessions by the State than her gold 
mines. The small grains, fruits and vegetables are 



286 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

their common, chief productions ; and the yields 
are enormous, while the culture and care are com- 
paratively light. 

In California, from December till April and May 
is seed-time ; from June till September is harvest. 
No barns are needed for housing stock ; they can 
roam safely in pasture for the whole year. Neither 
are they needed for the harvests ; threshing and 
winnowing are done as well in the open field, — 
sometimes, indeed, by the very machine that reaps, 
and at the same time, — and the grain is put in bags, 
and thus transported to the market ; all at leisure, 
for there is no rain nor dew to spoil the crop ; it 
lies safely in any shape in the open field. There is 
no hot, hurrying work with planting and harvest- 
ing, as in the East ; no dodging of showers ; no 
lost days during the long summer. Fifty bushels 
of wheat to the acre is more common here than 
twenty-five in the best wheat fields of the States, 
and seventy-five and eighty bushels are often ob- 
tained. Barley, which is another leading crop, 
yields still greater return ; an authentic instance of 
one hundred and twenty bushels to the acre is be- 
fore me ; and crops that would astound an Eastern 
farmer are often gathered from the droppings of a 
last year's harvest. A single farmer in the neigh- 
borhood of San Jose, with a twelve hundred acre 
farm, has this year gathered in over fifty thousand 
bushels of wheat ; and the county of Santa Clara, 
in which this farm is located, lying south fifty miles 
from San Francisco, and in between two sections 
of the Coast range of mountains, presents the fol- 



AGRICULTURAL RICHES OF CALIFORNIA. 28/ 

lowing aggregates of agriculture: acres fenced in, 
two hundred and ten thousand ; cultivated, one 
hundred and thirty thousand; grape vines, eight 
hundred and seventy-nine thousand nine hundred ; 
apple trees, one hundred and twenty thousand ; 
crops this year, — thirty-five thousand tons of hay, 
one hundred and thirty-five thousand bushels of 
wheat, one hundred thousand of barley, sixty thou- 
sand each of oats and potatoes, and four thousand 
of corn. 

Nothing is wanting to the agriculture of Califor- 
nia but a steady and extensive market ; she sends 
north to Washington and the British Provinces ; 
east to Nevada and Idaho ; south to Mexico ; is 
even trying China on the west, and with steam navi- 
gation hopes for large market for wheat there ; — 
but most of her soil is still unbroken, — her produc- 
tive power is but suggested, not proven, undevel- 
oped. And still she buys half her butter in the 
East ! Visit ranches in the interior, that boast their 
cattle by the tens of thousands, and the chances are 
two to one that neither milk nor butter can be had 
for love or money! 



LETTER XXVI. 

OF SAN FRANCISCO: BUSINESS MATTERS. 



San Francisco, August 26. 
This is a very ridiculous and repulsive town, in 
some aspects, and a very fascinating and commend- 
able one, in others, both materially and morally, 
physically and esthetically. Its youth is its apology 
in one regard, its wonder and its merit on the other. 
The location must have been chosen for its water 
and not its land privileges. It is set upon the in- 
side of a range of the purest sand-hills, six or seven 
miles wide, blown up from the ocean, and still blow- 
ing up, between it and the bay. The main business 
streets are in the hollows, or on the flat land, made 
by pulling down the sand from the hills. But go 
out of these in any direction, and you are con- 
fronted by steep hills. Some of these are cut 
through, or being cut through, others are scaled, to 
make room for the spread of the town. The happy 
thought of winding the streets about their sides, 
which would have made a very picturesque and 
certainly get-around-able town, came too late. If 
but the early San Franciscans had thought of Bos- 
ton, and followed the cow-paths, what a unique, nice 



THE SAND-HILLS OF SAN FRANCISCO. 289 

town they would have made of this ! Only I fear 
there never was even an estray cow on these virgin 
sand-hills, as innocent of verdure as a babe of sor- 
row or vice. The modern American straight line 
style was the order, no matter what was in front ; 
and the result is that going about San Francisco is 
all collar and breeching work for man and beast. 
The consequence is, also, there are only two or 
three streets that you can think of driving out of 
town on. The only way to get up and down the 
others with a horse, is to go zig-zag from one side 
to the other. Some of the principal residence 
streets are after this fashion, however ; I found our 
friend. Rev. Horatio Stebbins, of the Unitarian 
church here, holding on by main strength to a side 
hill that runs up at an angle of something like thirty 
degrees. And so they run up and down, and the 
city is straggling loosely over these hills for several 
miles in all directions. Some of the highest of the 
knobs are being cut down, and this leaves the early 
houses, — that is those built four or five years ago, — 
away up one hundred feet or more in the air, and 
reached by long flights of steep steps. 

Wherever the hill-sides and tops are fastened 
with houses or pavements, or twice daily seduced 
with water, there the foundations are measurably 
secure ; and the deed of the purchaser means some- 
thing ; but all elsewhere, all the open lots and un- 
paved paths are still undergoing the changing and 
creative process. The daily winds swoop up the 
soil in one place and deposit it in another in great 
masses, like drifts of snow. You will often find a 



290 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

suburban street blocked up with fresh sand ; and 
the owner of vacant lots needs certainly to pay 
them daily visit in order to swear to title ; and the 
chance is anyway that, between one neon and 
another, he and his neighbor will have changed 
properties to an indefinite depth. Incidental to all 
this, of course, are clouds of sand and dust through 
all the residence and open parts of the city, making 
large market for soap and clothes-brushes, and put- 
ting neat housekeepers quite in despair for their 
furniture. Naturally enough, there is a looseness 
on the subject of cleanliness, that would shock 
your old-fashioned New England housewives. 

But then, as compensation, the winds give health, 
— keeping the town fresh and clean ; and the hills 
offer wide visions of bay and river, and islands and 
sister hills, — away out and on with varying life of 
shipping, and manufactures, and agriculture ; and, 
hanging over all, a sky of azure with broad hori- 
zons. Oceanward is Lone Mountain Cemetery, 
covering one of the hills with its scrawny, low- 
running, live oak shrub tree, and its white monu- 
ments, conspicuous among which are the erections 
to those martyrs to both western and eastern civili- 
zation and progress, — Broderick, the mechanic and 
senator, James King of William, the editor, and 
Baker, the soldier. Here is the old Mission quar- 
ter, there the soldiers' camp, yonder, by the water, 
the bristling fort, again the conspicuous and gener- 
ous Orphan Asylum, monument of the tenderness 
and devotion of the women of the city, and to the 
left of that still, the two Jewish Cemeteries, each 



PERPETUAL GARDENS IN THE CITY. 29 1 

with its appropriate and tasteful burial chapel. No 
other American city holds in its very center such 
sweeping views of itself and its neighborhood. 

Then the little yards around the dwellings of the 
prosperous, even of those of moderate means, are 
made rich with all the verdure of a green-house, 
with only the cost of daily watering. The most 
delicate of evergreens.; roses of every grade and 
hue ; fuchsias vigorous and high as lilac bushes ; 
nasturtiums sweeping over fences and up house 
walls ; flowering vines of delicate quality, unknown 
in the East; geraniums and salvias, pansies and 
daisies, and all the kindred summer flowers of New 
York and New England, grow and blossom under 
these skies, throughout the whole year,— the same 
in December and January as in June and August, 
—with a richness and a profusion that are rarely 
attained by any out door culture in the East The 
public aqueducts furnish water, though at consider- 
able expense, and pipes convey and spread it in 
fine spray all over yard and garden. The result is, 
every man's door-yard in the city' is like an east- 
ern conservatory ; and little humble cottages smile 
out of this city of sand-hills and dust, as green and 
as yellow, and as red and as purple, as gayest of 
garden can make them. There is no aristocracy 
of flowers here ; they greet you everywhere in 
greatest profusion, and are tender solace to home- 
sick heart and cheap and sweet tonic to weary 
brain. 

Kindred contrasts force themselves upon the ob- 
servant stranger, in the business and social life of 



292 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

the town. Some of the finest qualities are mingled 
with others that are both shabby and "shoddy." 
There is sharp, full development of all material 
powers and excellencies ; wealth of practical qual- 
ity and force ; a recklessness and rioting with the 
elements of prosperity ; much dash, a certain chiv- 
alric honor combined with carelessness of word, of 
integrity, of consequence ; a sort of gambling, spec- 
ulating, horse-jockeying morality, — born of the un- 
certainties of mining, its sudden bights, its equally 
surprising depths, and the eager haste to be rich, — 
that all require something of a re-casting of rela- 
tionships, new standards, certainly new charities, 
in order to get the unaccustomed mind into a state 
of candor and justice. People, who know they are 
smart in the East, and come out here thinking to 
find it easy wool-gathering, are generally apt to go 
home skorn. Wall Street can teach ^Montgomery 
Street nothing in the way of ''bulling" and "bear- 
ing," and the "corners" made here require both 
quick and long breath to turn without faltering. 

Men of medrocre quality are no better oft' here 
than in older cities and States. Ten or fifteen 
years of stern chase after fortune, among the mines 
and mountains and against the new nature of this 
original country, has developed men here with a 
tougher and more various experience in all the tem- 
poralities of life, and a wider resource for fighting all 
sorts of "tigers," than you can easily find among the 
present generation in the eastern States. Nearly 
all the men of means here to-day have held long 
and various struggle with fortune, failing once, twice 



THE BUSINESS MEN OF SAN FRANCISCO. 293 

or thrice and making wide wreck, but buckling on 
the arrnor again and again, and trying the contest 
over and over. So it is throughout the State and 
the Coast ; I have hardly met an old emigrant of 
'49 and '50, Vv'ho has not told me of vicissitudes of 
fortune, of personal trials, and hard work for bread 
and life, that, half-dreamed of before coming here, 
he would never have dared to encounter, and which 
no experience of persons in like position in life in 
the East can parallel 

In consequence partly of all this training, and 
partly of the great interests and the wide regions 
to be dealt with, the men I find at the head of the 
great enterprises of this Coast have great business 
power,— a wide practical reach, a boldness, a sagac- 
ity, a vim, that I do not believe can be matched 
anywhere in the world. London and New York 
and Boston can furnish men of more philosophies 
and theories, — men who have studied business as a 
science as well as practiced it as a trade, — but here 
are the men of acuter intuitions and more darins: 
natures ; who cannot tell you why they do so and 
so, but who will do it with a force that commands 
success. Such men have built up and direct the 
California Steam Navigation Company, that is to the 
waters of this State what the Oregon Company is 
to those of that, commanding the entire navigation 
and furnishing most -unexceptionable facihties for 
trade and travel ; the California and Pioneer Stas^e 
Companies, that equally command the stage travel 
of the Coast; the Woolen Mills of this city; the 
Wells & Fargo Express Company; the great Ma- 



294 ACROSS THE CONTINENT, 

chine Shops of Pacific street ; the Pacific Mail 
Steamship Company ; and the great private Bank- 
ing Houses, of which there are many and most pros- 
perous. Much British capital is invested in bank- 
ing here ; nor only in original houses, but through 
branches of leadmg bankers in London, India and 
British Columbia. But chief of the banks is the 
Bank of California, with two millions of capital, 
divided into only forty shares of fifty thousand dol- 
lars each, and owned by fewer than that number of 
persons, who represent a total property of thirteen 
millions (gold). This institution does about half 
the banking business of the city, and its average 
cash movement every steamer day, in shipments of 
bullion and drafts, is five millions of dollars. It 
keeps the best commercial and financial writer of 
the Coast in its employ, has agents in all the centers 
of productive wealth in the Pacific States, invests, 
directly or indirectly, in most of the leading enter- 
prises of the State, has an eye out for the politics 
and religion of the country, and to a very consider- 
able extent " runs " California every way. 

But there is no institution of the Coast that has 
interested me more than the Wells & Fargo Ex- 
press. It is the omnipresent, universal business 
agent of all the region from the Rocky Mountains 
to the Pacific Ocean. Its offices are in every town, 
^ar and near ; a billiard saloon, a restaurant, and a 
Wells & Fargo office are the first three elements 
of a Pacific or Coast mining town ; its messengers 
are on every steamboat, and rail-car and stage, in 
all these States. It is the Ready Companion oi 



WELLS AND FARGO AS LETTER-CARRIERS. 295 

civilization, the Universal Friend and Agent of the 
miner, his errand man, his banker, his post-office. 
It is much more than an ordinary express com- 
pany ; it does a general and universal banking busi- 
ness, and a great one in amount j it brings to market 
all the bullion and gold from the mining regions, — 
its statistics are the only reliable knowledge of the 
production ; and it divides with the government the 
carrying of letters to and fro. 

In the latter respect its operations are very curi- 
ous. Going along hand in hand with the rapidly 
changing populations of the mining States, offering 
readier and more various facilities than the slower- 
moving and circumscribed government machinery, 
carrying the goods of the merchant and the bullion 
of the miner, as well as their letters, it has grown 
very much into the heart and habit of the people, 
and even conveys many of the letters upon routes 
that the government mail now goes as quickly and 
as safely as the express compan}^ though their cost 
by the latter is much the greatest. The company 
breaks none of the post-office laws, but pays the 
government its full price for every letter it carries. 
The process is thus : Wells & Fargo buy the post- 
office envelopes bearing the government stamp, and 
then put their own stamp or frank upon them, and 
sell the same for ten cents each ; and in these en- 
velopes, thus doubly stamped, all the letters by ex- 
press are carried. Where the letters are above the 
single rate, additional government stamps are put 
on and charged for by the company. 

The extent of this business is shown by the facts 



296 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

that Wells & Fargo bought of the government in 
1863 over two millions of three-cent envelopes, 
fifteen thousand of six-cent envelopes, and thirty 
thousand of ten and eighteen-cent ones, besides 
seventy thousand of extra three-cent stamps and 
twelve thousand five hundred of six-cent ditto. In 
1864, the business increased, as it has steadily all 
along, and the three-cent envelopes bought and sold 
by Wells & Fargo in that year were nearly two and 
a quarter millions, and tlie extra stamps about one 
hundred and twenty-five thousand. Thus all the 
agencies of Wells & Fargo are private post-offices, 
doing the business of the government better and 
more satisfactorily than it does it itself, and paying 
the government its full price for the same. One 
long side of the great San Francisco office is de- 
voted to this letter business; clerks wait courte- 
ously, and at all hours, on all callers ; letters with 
known or discoverable local addresses are delivered ; 
and for the others, lists of those received each day 
are regularly posted, so that any one can tell at once, 
without inquiry, if there be anything for him. The 
niessengers of the company on stages and steam- 
boats receive all letters under the appropriate en- 
velopes, and the facihties of letter carriage they 
afford are much wider and more intimate than the 
government gives. 

This part of the business of W^ells & Fargo is 
very profitable, and its success, popularity and wide 
extension, reaching through one hundred and sev- 
enty-five different towns and villages, and extending 
as well to the newest mining regions in Idaho as to 



ROBBERIES OF THE MESSENGERS. 29/ 

the chief cities of California, — even beyond and off 
mail routes and post-offices, — present very effective 
practical arguments for the government's giving up 
wholly its post-office department. The main rea- 
son offered against such abandonment has generally 
been, that the sparsely settled States and widely 
separated populations could not, by private enter- 
prise, be served with their letters except at high 
cost ; but this experience on the Pacific Coast more 
than meets this. Private enterprise here does bet- 
ter than the government, and is preferred to it. 
Wells & Fargo even offered some years ago to do 
the whole mail service of the Pacific Coast at five 
cents a letter, provided the franking privilege was 
abolished. They could doubtless perform it with 
profit at three cents, and would if the business were 
all secured to them. 

The Wells & Fargo Express is mostty owned in 
New York, but it is managed out here by men of 
large business experience and great sagacity, and in 
its enterprise and popular facilities not only strik- 
ingly illustrates but grfeatly advances the civiliza- 
tion of these States. Often it runs special treasure 
wagons with escort, and frequently its messengers 
are exposed to great peril from robbers and Indians. 
Those from Idaho now have to ride wide awake, 
day and night, with guns and pistols ready loaded 
and cocked. The stages on which their messengers 
and treasure were passing were stopped and robbed 
on the road eight times during 1864; and several 
serious robberies have also occurred this year, and 

in one case a messenger was murdered. The man- 
13* 



298 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

agers of the express are influential leaders and 
movers in the opening of new routes and in estab- 
lishing lines of stages ; even also are high powers 
in the construction of railroads. 

The success and extent of the Machine Shops 
and Woolen Manufacture here in San Francisco 
were also interesting objects of observation. There 
is no longer use or profit in importing machinery 
from the East. As good, if not better, is made 
here, and as cheap ; steam engines and boilers of 
the highest grade ; and stamps and crushers and all 
the various machinery for the mining regions. The 
machine shops are mostly in a single street, and 
must employ in the aggregate about one thousand 
mechanics and laborers. One of the largest and 
most complete of these establishments is owned 
and conducted by Mr. Ira P. Rankin, formerly of 
Boston and Northampton. 

There are two large and successful Woolen Mills. 
The oldest and most successful is the "Mission,'' 
the creation of an indomitable Scotch-Yankee, Mr. 
Donald McLennan, who learned his business among 
the mills of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and 
came out here some eight or ten years ago, with 
only a few dollars in his pocket, but with a big cap- 
ital of experience, industry and courage. His estab- 
lishment is now worth over half a million dollars ; 
consumed last year over one million pounds of 
wool, and manufactured thirty-two thousand pairs 
of blankets, near half a million yards of flannels, 
and over one hundred thousand yards of cloths and 
cloakings. The wool is all of California growth, — 



THE MISSION WOOLEN MILLS. 299 

for this is a large and cheap wool-producing State ; — 
the machinery, which includes eleven sets of cards, 
thirty-five hundred spindles and fifty broad power- 
looms, is of the very best and most modern descrip- 
tion, from England and the East ; and the goods 
produced are of much variety of grade and style, in 
order to suit and fill the limited market here. The 
blankets are the finest made anywhere in the United 
States, perhaps in the world ; certainly there are 
none in the eastern markets to compare with them 
either in thickness or softness ; and except for the 
very finest of broadcloths and cassimeres, these 
mills are fast driving all woolen goods from the 
East and from Europe out of this market. The 
army and Indian departments on this Coast have 
been laigely supplied with their blankets and cloth- 
ing from this establishment during the last four 
years ; and the government officers testify that 
these goods are of much superior quality to those 
generally sent from the East. 

One of the most interesting features of Mr. 
McLennan's estab-lishmerrt is that the work is 
nearly all done by Chinamen, almost three hundred 
being employed. A few whites are only necessary 
for the more intricate and skill-requiring processes, 
and for superintending. The Chinese are found 
much cheaper of course ; indeed the business could 
not be carried on successfully here but for their 
labor, which costs but one dollar and twelve cents 
a day against two dollars and ninety-seven cents 
for the whites employed ; and the superintendent 
testifies that the difficulties of a first beginning 



300 • ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

with them were very speedily and fully overcome, 
and they were found very quick to learn all the 
details of the work, such as carding, spinning, weav- 
ing, finishing and wool-sorting. They live in a 
large building on the mill grounds, and make the 
most reliable, constant and valuable of factory 
operatives. 

The first cotton manufactory in California is just 
finished and going into operation, over the bay in 
Oakland, and will get its raw material from the 
Mexican States, for the present at least. Success- 
ful experiments in cotton raising on a large scale 
have been made this season in southern California. 
— There is a great sugar refinery establishment in 
San Francisco, drawing its materials for refining 
from the Sandwich Islands, which are fast coming 
to be the exclusive source of sweetening for all 
these States. — There are also extensive lead and 
iron and glass works. San Francisco enterprise 
and capital are at the foundation of all these pioneer 
manufactures ; but success will soon extend and 
multiply them over the State. 

I dwell upon these particulars, these illustrations 
of the enterprise and skill of this city and these 
States, because they form the promise of the great 
future. There is a sea-captain in your town, and 
quite a young man, too, who used to come here for 
hides, when only a single cabin marked the site of 
San Francisco. Now it has a population of over 
one hundred thousand, or nearly a quarter of the 
whole State ; pays half the taxes of the State ; has 
a larger foreign commerce than any city in the Na- 



COMMERCE OF SAN FRANCISCO. 3OI 

tion but New York and Boston, its customs-revenue 
for the first six months of this year being three mil- 
lions and a quarter dollars, and its port clearing 
two hundred and thirty vessels of one hundred and 
eighty-three thousand eight hundred. and thirty-four 
tons for foreign ports, and entering one hundred and 
ninety vessels of one hundred and forty-nine thou- 
sand seven hundred and forty-four tonnage during 
the same time, besides a domestic shipping two- 
thirds these figures ; and soon, within ten years, — 
struggle as Boston may and grow as she will, — it 
will divide commercial honors with New York alone. 
Here is seat of empire, and of population, as great 
as yours of the eastern States ; here the equal arm 
of the American Nation ; and these men and means 
that I have been describing are the beginnings of 
the great and majestic end. 



LETTER XXVII. 

MINING IN CALIFORNIA; ITS VARIETIES, RESULTS 
AND PROSPECTS. 



Mariposa, California, August 28. 

We have been making our final studies of the 
mining business of the Pacific States here among 
the mines and mills of the famous Mariposa estate 
of Colonel Fremont. Thus the occasion is a proper 
one to sum up my various notes and observations 
in California on that subject, and so far as possible 
represent the state of the business in the whole 
region west of the Rocky Mountains. The gross 
production of gold and silver by all these States 
was probably never greater than now. There are 
no very exact figures to be had ; those of Wells, 
Fargo & Company's Express and the San Francisco 
mint furnish the best data, and are before me in 
detail. They indicate a total yield for 1 864 of about 
^ixty millions of dollars, and for this year at least 
an equal, probably a greater sum, perhaps sixty-five 
or seventy milhons. California herself produces 
now but about one-third of this amount ; she has 
fallen off from forty and fifty millions a year to 
twenty and twenty-five ; while Nevada now offers 
from fifteen to twenty millions a year, mainly of 



QUARTZ MINING AND SOIL DIGGINGS. 303 

silver ; Idaho and eastern Oregon sent -forward nine 
millions last year, and will probably increase this to 
twelve or fifteen millions this year ; and the British 
Provinces and Arizona furnish perhaps five millions. 
The gold of Montana mainly finds its way east 
through Colorado ; but this is the first season of 
any large production there. But the production of 
all the States and Territories this side of the Rocky 
Mountains comes to San Francisco ; one-third of it, 
or about twenty millions, is coined at the United 
States mint there ; and the rest is exported in bars 
or dust, mainly in bars, to New York, China and 
England, but chiefly now to England. 

The western or California slopes of the Sierra 
Nevada yield no silver ore, — here the mining is of 
gold alone, and it is divided into two general classes ; 
that which seeks the metal from the solid rock, or 
quartz, and that which finds it in sand, gravel, or 
soil. The former process is the universal and famil- 
iar one of all rock mining, following the rich veins 
into the bowels of the earth with pick and powder, 
crushing the rock, and seducing the infinitesimal 
atoms of metal from the dusty, powdered mass. 

The accepted theory is that this is the original 
form or deposit of the precious metals, — that the 
gold found in gravel, sand or soil, — lying as it does 
almost universally in the beds of rivers, dead or 
alive, or under the eaves of the mountains, — has 
been washed and ground out of the. hard hills by 
the action of the elements through long years. 
Washing with water is the universal means of get- 
ting at these deposits of the gold. But the scale 



304 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

on which this work is done, and the instrumentah- 
ties of apphcation, vary, from the simple hand-pan 
and pick and shovel of the individual and original 
miner, operating along the banks of a little stream, 
to grand combination enterprises for changing the 
entire course of a river, running shafts down hun- 
dreds of feet to get into the beds of long ago 
streams, and bringing water through ditches and 
flumes and great pipes for ten or twenty miles, 
wherewith to wash down a hill-side of golden gravel, 
and get at its precious particles. The simple indi- 
vidual pan-washers have mostly " moved on " for the 
richer sands of Idaho and Montana ; what of this 
sort of gold seeking remains in California is in the 
hands of patient and plodding "John Chinaman," 
who works over the neglected sands of his prede- 
cessors, and is content to. reap as harvest a dollar's 
worth a day. 

The other means are employed, on greater or less 
scales of magnitude, by combinations of men and 
capital. All the forms of gold washing run into 
each other, indeed ; and companies of two or three, 
sometimes of Chinamen, with capitals of hundreds 
of dollars, buy a sluice claim or seize a deserted 
bed, and with shovel and pick and small stream of 
water, run the sands over and over through the 
sluice ways, and at end of day, or week, or month, 
gather up the deposits of gold on the bottoms and 
at the ends of their sluices. From this, opera- 
tions ascend to a magnitude involving hundreds 
of thousands, and employing hundreds of men as 
partners or day laborers for the managers. Some- 



DEEP DIGGINGS AND HYDRAULIC MINING. 305 

times, too, the enterprise is divided, and companies 
are organized that furnish the water alone, and sell 
it out to the miners or washers according to their 
wants. The raising of auriferous sands and gravel 
from the deeply covered beds of old streams, by 
running down shafts and out tunnels into and 
through such beds, and then washing them over, is 
called "Deep Diggings," or "Bed-rock Diggings," 
and in their pursuit the bottoms of ancient rivers 
will be followed through the country for mile after 
mile, and many feet below the present surface of 
the earth. The miners in this fashion go down till 
they reach the bed-rock, along which the water orig- 
inally ran, and here they find the richest deposits. 

The other sort of heavy gold washing, employing 
powerful streams of water to tear down and wash 
out the soil of hill-sides that cover or hold golden 
deposits, is known as " Hydraulic Mining." This is 
the most unique and extensive process, involving 
the largest capital and risk. The water is brought 
from mountain lakes or rivers through ditches and 
flumes, sometimes supported by trestle-work fifty 
to one hundred feet high, to near the theater of 
operations. Then it is let from flumes into large 
and stout iron pipes which grow gradually smaller 
and smaller; out of these it is passed into hose, 
like that of a fire engine, and through this it is fired 
with a terrible force into the bank or bed of earth, 
which is speedily torn down and washed with resist- 
less, separating power, into narrow beds or sluices 
in the lower valleys, and as it goes along these, hin- 
dered and seduced at various points, the more solid 



306 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

gold particles deposit themselves. Usually, in large 
operations of this kind, the main stream of water 
is divided in the final discharging hose into two or 
more streams, which spout out into the hill-side as 
if from several fire engines, only with immensely 
more force. One of the streams would instantly 
kill man or animal that should get before it, and 
frequent fatal or half-fatal accidents occur from this 
cause. Near Dutch Flat, where extensive hydraulic 
mining is in progress, a water company taps lakes 
twelve to twenty miles off in the mountains, and* 
turns whole rivers into its ditches ; and as further 
illustration of its majestic operations, we learned 
that it spent eighty thousand dollars in one year in 
building a new ditch, and yet made and divided one 
hundred and twenty thousand dollars in additional 
profits that same year. Up near Yreka, in northern 
California, a ditch thirty miles long, and costing 
two hundred thousand dollars, was constructed for 
this business ; but in this instance, the enterprise 
did not prove profitable. Near Oroville, also, are 
supposed rich gold banks and beds that only lack 
water for development ; but to get this will require 
ditches costing two hundred thousand dollars. The 
citizens of the neighborhood are confident it would 
be a richly-paying investment, however, and say the 
chief reason why it is not entered upon is the lack 
of certain laws regulating mining claims, and the 
conflicts and doubt that are engendered by the neg- 
lect of the government to establish the terms of 
ownership in mining lands. 

As it is now, squatter sovereignty is the substan- 



PROFITABLE GOLD WASHINGS. 307 

tial law of mining properties; prospectors and 
miners have established a few general rules for de- 
termining the rights of each other ; and they can 
occupy and use the properties that they discover or 
purchase, to a certain limited extent. No one man 
is allowed to take up more than a certain amount 
in feet or acres. The government so iar has done 
nothing with these mineral lands, whose fee is still 
in itself, and gets no revenue from them. When- 
ever cases of conflict come into court, the regu- 
lations of the miners of the district, where the 
properties are located, have been generally sus- 
tained. But the apprehension that the government 
will yet assume its rights, and establish different 
rules for the possession and use of these lands, and 
the uncertainty and controversies growing out of 
the present loose ways of making and holding 
claims, are undoubtedly a stumbling-block to large 
enterprises, and an obstacle to the best sort of 
mining progress and prosperity all through the 
mineral country of this Coast. 

The returns obtained in some cases of extensive 
deep diggings and hydraulic mining are very great. 
A thousand dollars a day" is often washed out by a 
company holding rich soil and employing a large 
force; and a run of several weeks averaging fifty 
dollars and one hundred dollars a day to the hand 
is frequently recorded. A single "cleaning up," 
after a few weeks* washing in a rich place, has pro- 
duced fifty thousand dollars in gold dust and nug- 
gets ; and in other cases, even one hundred thousand 
dollars is reported. These are the extreme cases 



308 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of good fortune, however ; other enterprises are run 
with a loss, or with varying result; but the gold 
washings, as a general thing, are paying good wages 
and a fair return to the capital invested. 

Of course all these operations create a wide waste 
wherever they are going on, and have been in 
progress. Tornado, flood, earthquake and volcano 
combined could hardly make greater havoc, spread 
wider ruin and wreck, than are to be seen every- 
where in the path of the larger gold-washing oper- 
ations. None of the interior streams of California, 
though naturally pure as crystal, escape the change 
to a thick yellow mud, from this cause, early in. 
their progress out of the hills. The Sacramento is 
worse than the Missouri. Many of the streams are 
turned out of their original channels, either directly 
for mining purposes, or in consequence of the great 
masses of soil and gravel that come down from the 
gold-washings ahove. Thousands of acres of fine 
land along their banks are ruined forever by the 
deposits of this character. There are no rights 
which mining respects in California. It is the one 
supreme interest. A farmer may have his whole 
estate turned to a barren waste by a flood of sand 
and gravel from some hydraulic mining up stream ; 
more, if a fine orchard or garden stands in the way 
of the working of a rich gulch or bank, orchard and 
garden must go. Then the torn-down, dug-out, 
washed to pieces and then washed over side-hills, 
that have been or are being hydraulic-mined, are 
the very devil's chaos, indeed. The country is full 
of them among the mining districts of the Sierra 



YUBA DAM GRASS VALLEY QUARTZ MINES. 3O9 

Nevada foot-hills, and they are truly a terrible blot 
upon the face of nature. The valley of the Yuba, 
a branch of the Sacramento, was one of the worst 
illustrations our journeying has presented ; and 
when we came to the sign over the "grocery" of a 
now deserted mining camp, indicating that this was 
"Yuba Dam," we thought of the famous anecdote 
connected with this name, from its repetition, with- 
out the benefit of spelling, to an inquiring colpor- 
teur, and were fain to confess that the profane com- 
pound fairly represented the spirit of the lawless 
miner. 

The gold quartz mines are mostly in the same 
neighborhoods with present or past gold-washings ; 
in the hills back and above the rich stream beds 
and gravel banks. Nevada County in the north, 
and Mariposa in the south, have been the most fa- 
mous counties for this interest. The most success- 
ful and noteworthy operations of it now are in and 
around the town of Grass Valley, in Nevada Coun- 
ty, which has always been a profitable mining re- 
gion. It seemed almost the only mining town of 
importance in California, that we visited, which 
did not have vacant stores and houses, and show 
signs of decrepitude. There are now about twenty 
quartz mills in successful operation in Grass Val- 
ley, and the ore they work yields from ten to fifty 
dollars a ton ; occasionally as high as one hundred 
and two hundred dollars. The cost of mining and 
working is from six to ten dollars a ton, depending 
on the facilities of mine and mill. Among the suc- 
cessful miners and capitalists here, is Mr. S. D. 



3IO ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Bosworth, from West Springfield and Springfield, 
who now occupies the cottage which the notorious 
Lola Montez built and lived in for several years. 
She came here to perform for the miners in 1854, 
and staid to ruin one husband, and change him for 
another. She led a rollicking life here> and the 
town is full of scandals concerning her. Intelli- 
gent gentlemen who niet her confess to her intel- 
lectual power and impressive conversation, and to 
her fascinating manners. Grass Valley also boasts 
an old horse that goes around alone with a milk- 
wagon, stopping before the doors of his customers, 
and nowhere else, and delivering his daily allow- 
ances to each with unvarying fidelity. But the 
really wonderful thing about this story is that Grass 
Valley should have a population that can be trusted 
to help themselves to milk, and not take, any of 
them, more than their allotted share. The mines 
here are receiving enlarged attention just now, and 
extensive new investments are being made, both in 
Grass Valley and the neighboring town of Nevada. 
But here in Mariposa County, the interest has a 
different look, and affairs are in a desperate condi- 
tion. There are in all ten quartz mills here, all or 
nearly all on the Fremont estate, but only two or 
three are now running, and these with moderate re- 
sults. The villages are decreasing in population; 
the best people are going away; viciousness of all 
sorts seems to be increasing ; and highway robber- 
ies are of almost nightly occurrence. The great 
Mariposa mining company, formed in Wall street 
two years ago with a capital of ten millions, a debt 



THE MARIPOSA ESTATE ITS RUINS. 3 II 

of two millions, and not a cent of ready cash, — 
succeeding to General Fremont's property and his 
style of doing business, — has come to grief Its 
most worthy superintendent and manager, Mr. 
Frederic Law Olmsted, who was beguiled out here 
under a gross misapprehension of the situation of 
affairs, and the duties he was to perform, is going 
home disgusted, to resume more congenial occupa- 
tion in the East ; the sheriff has been brooding 
over the estate for six months ; and its local credi- 
tors are running one or two of its mills and mines, 
on a close and economical scale, — using up accu- 
mulated materials, but laying in no new supplies, — 
in order to obtain their claims. The ore now being 
obtained and thus worked returns from seven dol- 
lars to ten dollars a ton, which gives a small mar- 
gin of profit. It is all a sad, vast ruin, — a magnifi- 
cent gentleman, holding his head high, but wearing 
his last year's clothes, and dining around with his 
friends, — a sort of grand land and mine Micawber. 
There is doubtless life and value, possibly great 
wealth, in it still, but not of the sort or degree that 
has been set up for it. Divided up, and conducted 
by private parties or small companies on a moderate 
capital, as the Grass Valley mines are, or managed, 
as a whole even, with an eye to practical results 
alone, aiid no such side issues as the presidency, or 
a grand Wall street stock-jobbing operation, or the 
control of California politics, depending on it, and 
drawing its life-blood, the estate may yet have a 
useful future before it. But the end to it as a grand 
Principality, as an exhaustless Fountain for political 



312 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

and- financial jobbing, seems surely to have come. 
Indeed, its most striking capacity always has been 
in carrying an immense, a magnificent indebted- 
ness. A few men are rich from it here and in the 
East ; but their wealth is more from the sale of 
stock and bonds in New York, than the profits of 
its mines in Mariposa. The illustration of the 
whole lies best, perhaps, in the sincere boast at- 
tributed to its most gallant but never thrifty origi- 
nal owner. "Why," said General Fremont, "when 
I came to California, I was worth nothing, and now 
I owe two millions of dollars !" 

There are no very reliable statistics as to the ex- 
tent of the quartz-mining interest of California, or 
of its comparative results by the side of the gold- 
washings. The estimate of a prominent authority 
before me places the number of quartz-mills in the 
State at six hundred, their cost at twelve million 
dollars, and their product, on an average of ten dol- 
lars to the ton of ore, at eighteen millions of dollars 
a year. But these figures are clearly wide of the 
fact ; there can hardly be over one hundred quartz- 
mills, properly so called, in all California ; and they 
do not divide the State's product with the gold- 
washers equally. Mining in California, of all kinds, 
is now much more systematically and intelligently 
conducted than ever before. It is losing its waste- 
ful, gambling characteristics. In i S62, it apparently 
had its greatest production; the returns for 1864 
were only about half as much ; and probably this 
year will show no gain upon the last. The interest 
is, on the whole, at the ebb tide. But the risks of 



THE IDAHO MINES. 313 

the business will henceforth be less than heretofore ; 
the cost of production is cheaper here than in the 
newer and more remote fields; new and valuable 
fields are being discovered and opened among the 
Sierras ; and I am inclined to the belief that invest- 
ments in mining in California can be made with 
better results, at least with more certainty of profit, 
if less possible gains, than in any of the fresher and 
more fashionable regions. 

The Idaho mines are perhaps exciting the most 
interest at present among the people of the Coast ; 
and they are also beginning to divide enticements 
with those of Nevada and Colorado, for eastern 
speculators and capitalists. Some reliable facts 
about them, which I have from original sources, 
will not be amiss therefore, and serve to complete 
my general review of the mining developments of 
this whole region. The Boise Basin district is still 
rich in gold-washings, and is perhaps the richest 
region in that respect yet worked anywhere in the 
West. It has also rich quartz veins, and there are 
already eight mills in operation there, with eighty- 
four stamps. South Boise is less rich in placer dig- 
gings, but has an even larger development of the 
quartz interest. The bullion (gold) here holds a 
large proportion of silver, and is not worth over 
fourteen dollars an ounce. The Owyhee district 
borders on Oregon, and its mining wealth runs 
over into that State. The ore here is like that in 
Nevada, having more silver than gold in it. There 
are six mills now in this district, one of them with 
thirty stamps. The veins in Boise Basin and South 
14 



314 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Boise are small, like those of Reese River^ in Ne- 
vada, opening sometimes as low as four inches, but 
enlarging generally to four or five feet. The 
''Mammoth Vein" is from three to twelve feet 
wide ; the ore is generally free and simple, and is 
worked without roasting. The yield is from forty 
dollars a ton up ; one vein runs from forty to eighty 
dollars ; and others have yielded from two hundred 
to three hundred dollars a ton. It is not probable 
that the full value of the ore is obtained by the 
present means of working, and the tailings are 
saved. 

The country is very barren, having the same 
general characteristics as eastern Oregon and Ne- 
vada. There are some good valleys, and timber is 
plenty enough for the present save in the Owyhee 
district. The price of labor is six dollars a day, 
and goods and provisions are in proportion. The 
population is made up mostly of the floating mining 
elements of California, Oregon and Nevada; the 
men who are always moving on for the newest 
mines; prosperous to-day, poor to-morrow, The 
winters in Idaho are severe, and the work in the 
placer diggings is then suspended. The miners 
float back to the older towns, to The Dalles and Port- 
land in Oregon, and San Francisco, in the fall, and 
spend there their summer savings, and start out 
again in the sjDring for the old diggings, if no newer 
and more fabulous ones have been since discovered. 

Taking these figures as reliable as statements 
about mines generally are from those engaged in 
the business, I do not see that Idaho really offers 



CALIFORNIA S ADVANTAGE FOR MINING. 3 I 5 

any better inducements for emigration and capital 
than Nevada and Colorado. It is probable my 
statements relate to the best veins, that the average 
will fall below these rates of production, and that 
the permanent prosperity of the mining interests 
and the sure progress of the State will await the 
profitable working of ores yielding from ten dollars 
to twenty-five dollars a ton, as is already admitted to 
be true for California, and for Virginia City, Nevada, 
and will probably soon be proven in Reese River 
and in Colorado. And this can hardly be done 
until quicker and cheaper communication is pro- 
vided. Only the rare veins, only the choice ore in 
any of these States can be worked to much profit, 
so long as all machinery, all food, all goods, used in 
the business and for the people, have to pay a freight 
tariff of ten to thirty cents a pound, and labor is 
from four to eight dollars a day. California has the 
advantage over her rivals in these respects now; 
and I repeat that it seems to me mining is likely to 
be as profitable in this State for the next five years, 
taking all things into consideration, as in any of the 
newer regions. The others must wait for the rail 
road to give real and permanent and steady develop- 
ment and prosperity to greater apparent capacities. 
Do not complain, my reader, that this letter is 
getting dull with dry fact and statistics ; consider 
the mass of figures and " disgusting details " that 
I have before me, and have spared you, and be 
grateful : and come now with me, and let us have 
the sensation of a visit into the abyssmal depths of 
the mines themselves. Our party have done con- 



31^ ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

siderable of this descending into mines in our prog- 
ress across the country; for it became occasion 
of reproach and doubt of our intelHgent future 
judgment, if we failed to go down into every 
miner's particular pet hole. Over in Austin, we 
had amusing experience in this regard. We were 
to stay but three days there. But that is nothing, 
said the disappointed people; you can't begin to 
see our mines in that time ; you better have staid 
away. Well, come on, was the reply; show us 
what you can in three days, and then let us see 
what IS left that is new and strange. So we mount- 
ed ; and there was an extensive cavalcade of local 
officials, practical miners, speculators, and genteel 
bummers generally. We went over and around 
hills, down into mines, through mills, everywhere 
that our guides led us ; finding naturally great sim- 
ilarity of sights and testimony everywhere. By 
afternoon, our hosts had dwindled one-half. The 
next morning, instead of a dozen, we had but three 
or four guides ; at noon, they were reduced to one, 
and at night we had exhausted not only his strength 
and patience, but all he had to show us. We had 
seen Austin and its mines, and had a day to spare ! 
The newer mines, whose shafts are but fifty or 
one hundred feet, are descended by a simple rope 
and bucket, worked by a common hand windlass ; 
older and deeper ones, by the same contrivance, 
with steam power: if, as is often the case, the vein 
runs at an angle, or is reached below in that way, a 
little car runs down a steep track, held and drawn by 
a heavy rope and steam engine ; while other shafts 



INTO THE GOULD AND CURRY MINE. 317 

are provided with ladders, winding around, or set 
perpendicularly up and down. The latest, and 
safest and readiest contrivance for descending a 
perpendicular shaft is a cage or box, let down by a 
rope with steam power, but provided with sharp, 
opening arms that, in case the rope breaks, will 
catch into the walls with such power as to hold the 
cage and its load. Its certainty was proven to us 
by cutting the rope with an ax, when the cage sent 
out its fingers and clung midway in its passage. 
We reached the insides of other mines by long 
tunnels, running into the veins from the surface, far 
down the hill-sides on which they were located. 
The deepest worked mine on the Pacific Coast is 
in Amador County, this State, and is eight hundred 
feet down ; but some of those over in Nevada are 
fast approaching this depth; and the latter have 
the most extensive chambers below the surface of 
any in the country. The Gould & Curry mine, for 
instance, has several miles length of tunnels and 
shafts, and it is a full half day's journey to travel 
through it entirely. 

We entered this mine through a long tunnel, that 
strikes the vein several hundred feet below the 
surface. There were half a dozen of us in the pro- 
cession, each with a lighted candle, which would go 
out under the out-going draft, and so we soon con- 
tented ourselves with grouping along in the dim, 
cavernous light. It seemed a very long journey, 
and the nerves had to brace themselves. The most 
stolid person, stranger to such experience, will hard- 
ly fail to find his heart beating a little quicker, as 



3l8 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

he goes into these far-away, narrow recesses in the 
bowels of the earth. I never failed to remember 
the principle that "nature abhors a vacuum," and 
to wonder if she wouldn't take the present occasion 
to close up this little one that I was in. At last we 
reached the scenes of the ore and the work after it ; 
and among these we clambered and wandered about, 
down shafts to this or that level, and then out on 
side tunnels through the vein in both directions ; 
up again by narrow, pokerish ladders to a higher 
set of chambers, in and out, up and down, till we 
were lost in amazing confusion. Here was, indeed, 
a city of streets and population far under the surface 
of the earth. Many of the chambers or streets 
were deserted ; in others we found little coteries of 
miners, picking away at the hard rock, and loading 
up cars of the ore, that were sent out by the tunnels 
and up by the shafts to the surface above. Here, 
too, was a building in a wide hall under ground, 
and steam engine to help on the work. Some of 
the chambers had closed in after being w^orked out 
of ore ; others have been filled up to prevent caving 
in and causing great disaster overhead ; but many 
of the open passages were stayed or braced open 
still with huge frame work of timber ; more lumber, 
indeed, as I have told you, I believe, is used for this 
purpose in this single mine, than has been put into 
all the buildings of Virginia City itself, with its ten 
thousand to fifteen thousand inhabitants. And in 
many of the passages, such is the outward pressure 
into the vacuum, that these timbers, as big as a 
man's body, are bent and splintered almost in two. 



COMING OUT OF TPIE MINE. 319 

Great pine sticks, eighteen inches square, were 
thus bent like a bow, or yawned with gaping spHn- 
ters ; and the spaces left in some places for us to 
go through were in this way reduced so small that 
we almost had to- crawl to get along. 

Do you wonder that we began to grow weary, and 
thought we had seen enough.? Besides, the mine 
was oppressively hot and close ; the mercury was 
up to one hundred degrees and more, and the sweat 
poured from us like water. One of our party grew 
faint and feeble, and we voted to take the near- 
est way out. This happened to be the most peril- 
ous and trying; but we did not realize that, and 
our miner guide, unsensitive from experience, did 
not think of it. So he started us into a long shaft, 
running straight up and down for several hundreds 
of feet, dark and damp as night, with no breaks or 
landing places, and set us going one after another, 
up a perpendicular ladder fastened to its side. We 
only took in a sense of the thing after we had got 
started ; each must carry his lighted candle, hold 
on, and creep ahead ; a single misstep by any 
one, the fainting of our invalid, or of any of us, all 
weary and unstrung, would not only have plunged 
that one headlong down the long fatal flight, to be- 
come a very Mantilinean cold body at the bottom, 
but would have swept everybody below him on the 
ladder, like a row of bricks, to the same destination 
and destruction. There was, you may well believe, 
a stern summoning of all remaining strength and 
nerves, a close, firm grip on the rounds of the lad- 
der, a silent, grave procession, much and rapid 



320 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

thought, and a very long breath, and a very fervent 
if voiceless prayer, when we got to the daylight and 
the top. Our part of the shaft and the ladder was 
about one hundred and fifty feet; it seemed very 
long; and we were content to call our day's work 
done when it was over. Brains won the victory 
over body ; but both were weary enough at the end. 
But if I prolong this story any further, you will 
almost wish I had never got out of that shaft! 



LETTER XXVIIL ' 

SOCIAL LIFE IN SAN FRANCISCO: THE WOMEN: 
RELIGION AND MINISTERS. 



San Francisco, August 30. 
You must be a very indifferent sort of person, 
and have no friends, to escape during the first week 
of a visit here an invitation to drive out to the CHff 
House for breakfast and a sight of the sea-Hons. 
This is the one special pet dissipation of San Fran- 
cisco, the very trump card in its hospitaHty. A 
night among the Chinese houses and gambUng 
holes is reserved as a choice tit-bit for the pruri- 
ently curious few ; but the Cliff and the seals are 
for all ages and conditions of men and women. 
And, indeed, this is a very pleasant, reviving ex- 
cursion. . A drive of five or six miles, along a hard- 
made road over the intervening sand-hills, brings 
you out to the broad Pacific, rolling in and out, 
"wide as waters be." You strain your eyes for 
Sandwich Islands and China,— they are right before 
you ; no object intervenes, and you feel that you 
ought to see them. Just at the right, around the 
corner, is the Golden Gate ; and vessels are passing 
in and out the bay. A rare cliff rock places you 



322 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

beyond the sands, within the ocean ; and a fine hotel 
on its very edge offers every hospitaUty — at a price. 
Out upon half a dozen fragmentary rocks, hke 
solid castles moored in the ocean below and before, 
are the seals and the pelicans. The rocks are cov- 
ered and alive with them. You remember Barnum's 
seals at New York and Boston, don't you.^ — great 
sleek and slimy amphibious calves, — all bodies, small 
heads and short, webby feet, — bobbing up and down 
in their water tanks, and most making you weep 
with their large, liquid human eyes, like a hunger- 
ing, sorrowing woman's .? Well, here is their native 
water and rock; from these rocks they were cap- 
tured, and here by twenties and fifties you see their 
relations. Crawling up from the water, awkwardly 
and blunderingly like babe at its first creeping, they 
spread themselves in the sun all over the rocks, 
twenty and thirty feet high sometimes, and he there 
as if comatose; anon raising .the head to look about 
and utter a rough, wide-sounding bark ; often two 
or three, by reason of a fresh squatter on their ter- 
ritory, get into combat, and strike and bite languidly 
at one another, barking and grumbling meanwhile 
like long-lunged dogs ; and again, tired of discord 
or weary of heaven, they plunge, with more of spring 
than they do anything else, back into the deep sea. 
An opera-glass brings them close to you upon the 
hotel piazza, and there is a singular fascination in 
sitting and watching their performances. They are 
of all sizes from fifty pounds weight up to two hun- 
dred and three hundred. Sea gulls and pelicans. 
the latter huge and awkward in flight as turkeys, 



THE PACIFIC BEACH ''SOCIETY. 323 

dispute possession of the rocks ; resting in great 
flocks, or with loud flaps flying around and around, 
overlooking the water for passing food. 

Weary of these sights, the visitor seeks neighbor- 
ing charming coves among the rocks below, and lies 
there out of the wind, watching the rolling waves 
rising • and breaking over the island rocks, and 
sweeping in up the seducing sands to toy with his 
feet. And again, mounting horse or carriage, he 
rides swiftly and smoothly along the neighboring 
broad beach of hard sand for several miles ; the 
unbroken, wide-reaching, long-rolling ocean is be- 
fore his sight ; and his horse's feet dance in merry 
race with the incoming surf; — and thus solemnly 
awed with ocean expanse, alternate with dainty 
titillation of amused senses, he closes his charming 
half day at the Cliff. 

"Society" in this representative town of the Pa- 
cific Coast is somewhat diflicult of characterization. 
It holds in chaos all sorts of elements ; the very 
best, and the very worst, and all between. There 
is much of New York in it, much of St. Louis and 
Chicago, and a good deal that is original and local ; 
born of wide separation from the centers of our 
best social civilization; of the dominating materi- 
alism and masculineism of all life here ; of compar- 
ative lack of homes and families and their influences. 
There are probably more bachelors, great lusty fel- 
lows, who ought to be ashamed of themselves, living 
in hotels or in "lodgings," in this town, than in any 
place of its size in the world. There is want of 
femininity, spirituality in the current tone of the 



324 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

place ; lack of reverence for women ; fewer women 
to reverence; than our eastern towns are accustomed 
to. You hear more than is pleasant of private 
scandals ; of the vanity and weakness of women ; 
of the infidelity of wives. "It is the cussedest 
place for women," said an observant Yankee citizen, 
some two or three years from home, and not forget- 
ful yet of mother, sister and cousin, — "a to\\n of 
men and taverns and boarding-houses and billiard- 
saloons." 

Yet there seem to be plenty of women, — such 
as they are ; and Montgomery Street will offer the 
promenader as many pretty and striking faces, per- 
haps more in proportion, than Washington Street 
or Broadway. But the dominating quality, like 
mercy, is not strained ; it savors of the mannish- 
ness, the materialism, the "fastness" and the "loud- 
ness" of the country; and paradoxical as it may 
appear, by contrast with eastern society, the men 
seem of a higher grade than the Av^omen, — better 
for men than the latter as women. Nor is this in- 
consistent with reason ; the men, dealing with great 
practical necessities and duties, are less harmed, on 
the whole, by the dominant materialism of life here, 
than the women, whose pressing responsibilities 
are lower and fewer; — as a fine, delicate blade is 
more roughened in cutting the way through bram- 
ble and brush than a tough and broader edge.. 

All which is not only natural, but inevitable. In 
all new countries, where the first fight is for life 
and wealth with rough nature, the masculine qual- 
ity must ever be dominant ; and the feminine ele- 



HOW THE LADIES DRESS. 325 

ments must be influenced by it, more than they in- 
fluence it in turn. The senses rule the spirit. All 
civilization, all progress tends to the increase of the 
feminine element in our nature, and in life ; con- 
trast the centuries, and we see it creeping in every- 
where, in men and women alike, in religion, in in- 
tellectual culture, in art, in social intercourse, — ■ 
softening, refining, hallowing, — the atmosphere of 
^11 modern life pictures. Women, who possess and 
represent this blossom of our civilization, are by 
no means wanting here, — no more perfect speci- 
mens have I ever met anywhere; tender, tasteful, 
true ; and gaining in aggregate influence over so- 
ciety day by day; but yet not to-day representing 
or making what is called "society." 

The ladies generally dress in good taste. Paris 
is really as near San Francisco as New York, and 
there are many foreign families here. But the styles 
are not sa subdued as in our eastern cities ; a high- 
er or rather louder tone prevails ; rich, full colors, 
and sharp contrasts; the startling effects that the 
Parisian demi-monde seeks, — these are seen domi- 
nating here. In costliness of costume, too, there is 
apparent rivalry among the San Francisco ladies. 
Extravagance is lamented as a common weakness 
among them, and leading, v/here fortune is so fickle 
as here, to many a worse one often. Perhaps in no 
other American city would the ladies invoice so 
high per head as in San Francisco, when they go 
out to the opera, or to party, or ball. Their point 
lace is deeper, their moire antique stifier, their skirts 
a trifle longer, their corsage an inch lower, their 



326 ACROSS THE. CONTINENT. 

diamonds more brilliant, — and more of them, — than 
the cosmopolite is likely to find elsewhere. 

Another "society" item, and we will pass on. 
The common dining hour being five and six o'clock, 
the women are denied the esthetic, gossiping tea- 
party, so peculiar to New England. The "lunch 
party" is their substitute, and a famous feature of 
feminine social hfe it is. The hour is from high 
noon to two o'clock, when the men are busy at their 
work, and the women have this dissipation all to 
themselves. Richer and more various as a meal 
are the lunches than the teas they substitute ; the 
eating and attendant gossiping often absorb a whole 
afternoon, leaving the participants appetiteless, it is 
true, for the family dinner, but with what compen- 
sating material for garnishing the meal for the 
household! I have never even so much as seen 
through a crack in the door one of these California 
feminine lunch parties ; but confidential confessions 
lead me to give them a high place in the social fea- 
tures and distractions of the life of the town. And 
yet for high art in the line of the delicate but in- 
dustrious scandal-mongering and the virtuous plot- 
ting against masculine authority, that we are wont 
to attribute to these exclusive gatherings of our 
dear sisters, it does still seem to me that the New 
England conjunction of twilight and green hyson 
are much more favorable. Doubtless, these Cali- 
fornia Eves are bolder in their habits, as becomes 
their life and the grosser evils tliey are the victims 
of; but how much more daintily and delicately the 
stiletto and the tongue, the knitting-needle and the 



THE NEW ENGLAND SPIRIT DOMINANT. 32/ 

eye can do their sweet work under a little softening 
of the shadows and the inspiration of hot tea on a 
stomach that has already done its duty for the day ! 

In affairs of public morals, and education and re- 
ligion, there is much activity in San Francisco, and 
a healthy progress in the right direction is visibly 
constant. The New England elements are clearly 
dominant here and through the whole Pacific Coast 
region ; softened from their old Puritanic habits, — 
marrying themselves to the freer and more sensuous 
life of a new country with a cosmopolitan popula- 
tion, but still preserving their best qualities of de- 
cency, of order, of justice, of constant progress 
upward in morality and virtue. The " Pikes " were 
the first people all over this country, — emigrants 
from Missouri, to which again they had been emi- 
grants from the southern States, — and, joined to 
some direct importations from the home of the 
chivalry, they gave tone to society, and law, or 
rather want of law, to the government of city and 
State. But the Vigilance Committee revolution of 
ten years ago, — a mob in the interest of justice and 
order and morality, — inaugurated a new era. That 
was the North against the South, — the clash of 
their i^ilizations ; and the North, seizing the in- 
strum^lpities of violence, rose and destroyed vio- 
lence its'elf. Since then, there has been a steady, 
though struggling and sometimes hesitating, im- 
provement in the character of all the life of city 
and Coast. 

Ambition and pride in the things that are re- 
spectable and proper are singularly prominent ; and 



328 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

men contribute lavishly to build fine school-houses 
and support churches, whose lives are not especially 
controlled by the influences that school-houses and 
churches create. The gamblers give way gracious* 
ly to the progress towards decency and respecta* 
bility, and join in outward observance of the Sab' 
bath, help to build churches, and make orderly th(i 
street life of the town. It is very interesting to 
watch the various stages of this progress upward, 
from the new mining town of one or two years' 
life, up to San Francisco and Portland, which are 
the fullest flower of Pacific civilization. The order 
and decorum of the streets of these two cities are 
as perfect as those of Boston ; the San Francisco 
police system is admirable, and a woman may walk 
the streets of this city in, the evening, with less 
danger of insult and annoyance, than in those of 
Springfield, even. 

Money is lavished, even, on the school-houses, 
which are the most stately and elegant buildings in 
town, and the schools themselves have all the "mod- 
ern improvements," good and bad. There is spe- 
cial life, too, in the churches ; the Sabbath is cer- 
tainly as well observed as in New York ; the con- 
gregations are large, day and evening ; the Sunday 
schools even boast of a larger attendance, in pro- 
portion to the population, than those of any othei 
city in the country ; new church edifices are con- 
stantly going up; and, as your eastern parishes 
have reason to know, there is an eager seeking of 
the broadest and best pulpit talent to fill them. 
The demand seems to be for smart, effective ora~ 



THE CLERGY — REV. MR. STEBBINS, 329 

tors, as well as holy men; and the churches are 
not easily pleased. 

Among the "orthodox" preachers, Rev. Dr. 
Wadsworth, from Philadelphia, perhaps ranks first ; 
and his society, a Presbyterian one, is probably the 
largest and richest of that order. He is more of a 
scholar than an orator, however ; but is greatly re- 
spected and beloved. Just now. Rev. Dr. Scudder, 
from- Boston, is making his debut as pastor of one 
of the Presbyterian societies, and is drawing large 
houses. He has a free, popular. Ward Beecher 
style of talking in the pulpit, which, if really genu- 
ine and natural, will undoubtedly help him to per- 
manent popularity and usefulness here. The Con- 
gregational society, that bid so high for Rev. A. L. 
Stone, of Boston, is still in the market for a first- 
class preacher. Rev. Horatio Stebbins, of the Uni- 
tarian church, which can boast a larger parish in- 
come than any society in America, is, of course, 
chief among the liberals ; and his many New Eng- 
land friends will be rejoiced to know that he has 
won a high position already among the intellectual 
and religious leaders in California society. Starr 
King's peculiar popularity and remarkable career 
here made it hard for any one to come after him in 
the same pulpit; nobody could fill his place; for 
that matter, no man was ever great enough to. fill 
anybody's else place: but it was early found that 
Mr. Stebbins could make a place for himself, and 
nil it too. And this he has done. His superiority 
in pure intellectual and spiritual qualities is con- 
ceded ; and I have heard prominent citizens, with 



330 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

no partial kinship to his church to influence their 
opinion, speak of him often as the first man in in- 
tellect on the Coast. His first year here is now 
closing, and though his salary is six thousand dol- 
lars a year in gold, his friends have just made him 
up an anniversary gift of four thousand dollars 
(gold), by way of indicating that they know him 
and like him, and to repair the damages of his re- 
moval from the East. 

There is large extra demand upon all the clergy- 
men here for leadership in all literary and moral 
enterprises, in all matters, indeed, involving the 
public well-being. Mr. Stebbins has been particu- 
larly called upon for public addresses during the 
past season ; and there is also much impatience for 
his presence and preaching among the liberal relig- 
ious populations of the interior and of Oregon, 
where no societies of his faith yet exist, — so that 
there is an especial need of an able associate and 
assistant to divide his great and growing field and 
severe duties with him.* 

In the country parishes, particularly in the min- 
ing districts, the religious organizations are not so 
flourishing. The populations have decreased in 
many cases ; — there is nothing more desolate, in- 
deed, than the appearance and prospects of these 
interior mining villages, the interest, which gave 
them sudden rise and prosperity, all gone or nearly 

* Such provision has since been made by the Unitarian organi- 
zation in the East, and Rev. Charles G. Ames of Albany has gone 
out to Cahfoniia for this very purpose. He has excellent qualities 
for such service, and will admirably supplement Mr. Stebbins' pe- 
culiar talents and labors. 



A FIELD FOR MISSIONARIES. 33 1 

spent, and nothing taking its place ; — and the abiUty 
to fill the churches and pay the clergyman is cor- 
respondingly reduced. The people who remain are 
uniformly generous and self-sacrificing in support- 
ing the institutions of religion, but divided up into 
the various sects, each with its meeting-house, and 
its zealous pride of doctrine, no one of them has 
power to support a minister creditably. Many 
clergymen are therefore going away, literally starved 
out; and numerous districts of interior California 
are actually becoming missionary fields. All this 
Coast and its interior mining districts have great 
need to-day of earnest, unsectarian Christian min- 
isters and missionaries. The people are in the 
main responsive to right appeal ; they are eager to 
develop all the institutions and elements of the best 
civilization, and will contribute liberally of money, 
whenever they have it, in aid thereof; but it is no 
holiday work that invites those who would lead 
them. The men and women, who engage in it, 
should come with resolute heart, and the power and 
willingness to rough it in some respects, and come 
to stay at least five years, — not for a selfish pleasure 
trip to see the country, and pay expenses by preach- 
ing and prospecting in the mines. This country 
has had enough of that sort of martyr-missionaries ; 
they are of most profit to the steamship companies ; 
but for men of the other sort, there is no more in- 
teresting or fruitful or pressing field of labor, the 
world over, than this New Nation of our West. 

In all these matters, to which I have devoted 
this letter, — society, manners, morals, education, re- 



332 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

ligion,— the great want, the great reformer, is the 
Pacific I^ailroad. These, as much as mines and 
commerce, await the vivifying and elevating influ- 
ence of that great instrumentahty. Every discus- 
sion of the interests and the needs of this half of 
our Continent ends here. All life on the Coast is 
a circle leading to that. Everybody here sees this, 
realizes it, far more painfully than you possibly can 
in the East. I borrow the philosophical and im- 
pressive words of Rev. Mr. Stebbins, in closing his 
sermon last Sunday, to repeat this idea to you, — to 
show you how it is felt here, and how you ought to 
feel it there : — 



"The primeval command to 'replenish and subdue' the earth, is 
promulgated anew to us on these outer borders of the world. We, 
upon this Coast, need, above all material advantage, as the condi- 
tion of a noble social life and progress, an unbroken and swift com- 
munication by railway and magnetic circuit with the places which 
we still fondly call our Home. The social effect of such relations 
would be unspeakable in giving permanence and quiet to society. 
This longing, that comes like the sigh of the night- wind over the 
habitations of men, would be hushed. When the continental rail- 
way and the ocean line to China shall be complete, the London cos- 
mopolite will make the circuit of the globe in ninety days, and we 
shall be nourished by the blood of the heart of the world. Intelli- 
gence will be increased, society liberalized by intercourse, and ex- 
temporaneous adventure driven out by better industries, as in the 
olden time the temple of God was cleared of money-changers by 
the presence of a superior spirit. Men have been attracted here by 
the dangerous and corrupting passion for gold. The inherent ten- 
dencies to barbarism in that adventure can be overcome and neu- 
tralized only by assimilation with the best forms of society, and 
bringing these distant places into close proximity with civilization, 
that the whole world may be tributary of its best things. 

" It is not wise for us to flatter ourselves with false appearances 
or expectations. The bare historic fact is, that no fine state of hu- 



REV. MR. STEBBINS ON CALIFORNIA SOCIETY. 333 

man society has ever existed over gold mines. And the only ground 
of expectation we have, that society here will prove an exception to 
the general law, is, that the compensating influences of a beneficent 
government and swift communication with the world of mankind 
will give us the laws, the manners and the religion which no gold- 
producing country has ever been able to make for itself. Man, here 
on these shores, contends not merely with the unreclaimed powers 
of nature, as the pioneer of New England or the Mississippi valley, 
but nature herself is dishonest. She bribes and corrupts him, and 
plays a trick on all his being. She sneers at his industry, makes 
his business a joke, and his word a lie. The world must be im- 
ported here to make nature honest, and outwat her secret arts. 
Nothing can save us from Spanish decline and Mexic littleness but 
communication with the world; that rapid and sure intercourse 
with human society, which assimilates the interests and the life of 
mankind. And I make this moral predicament concerning the 
growth and prosperity of our State : That the powers which have 
made her prosperous thus far have done their best, and that no great 
impulse of human affairs, having breadth and hight and depth of 
permanent, untiring progress, can be felt here until the great high- 
ways are opened over sea and land ; and the world, the many-sided 
world of industries and arts, and commerce and literature, is im- 
ported to us. The primeval command comes to us with the aug- 
mented authority of our providential vocation, and is reiterated to 
us in original sublimity of moral law from every mountain summit 
which nature raises up as a barrier to our assimilation with the Na- 
tion and mankind. It is only by the introduction of new powers 
that we can conserve those we have. Compared with this all other 
questions for us are idle. And the people of California can make 
no better investment of their time, their talents, their money, or 
their public spirit, — and I would that I could persuade you to be- 
lieve it and quit all your lesser contradictions, — than in turning all 
the powers of the State to overcome the barriers which lie between 
her and the Nation's hearthstone, between her and the heart of the 
world. 

"Human society is made for religion: — for the ends and aims 
which religion suggests. Whatever promotes the assimilation of 
mankind, whatever , brings nations and peoples into communion, 
thus supplementing each other in the completeness of humanity, is 
a step in the advancing kingdom of God. This earth is a musical 
instrument not yet fully strung. When every Coast shall be peo- 



334 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

pled, every mountain barrier overcome, every abyss spanned, and 
the peoples of the earth shall flow together as in prophetic vision 
to the mountain of the Lord's house, and harmony of common 
good shall- persuade the lion and the lamb; when laws shall be 
greater than conflict, and order than violence ; when manners shall 
enrobe the races as a garment of beauty, and religion conserve soci- 
ety as virtue conserves the soul, — then this earth shall give its sound 
in harmony with the infinite intelligence, and the providential pur- 
pose shall gleam firom every summit as the beacon lights of man- 
kind." 

These are, indeed, solemn, majestic truths, most 
impressively stated. I would that they reach every 
soul, East and West, and bring forth early, earnest 
fruit. . 



LETTER XXIX. 

CLIMATE AND PRODUCTIONS: COST OF LIVING: 
THE CURRENCY QUESTION: THE MINT. 



San Francisco, August 31. 
The climate of all this Pacific side of the Rocky 
Mountains is one in its distinctive qualities. As a 
change from that of the Atlantic States, there can 
be no doubt of its beneficial influence upon the 
health^both because it is a change, and because it 
is less variable. It offers none of those wide sweeps 
of temperature that, both in degree and in sudden- 
ness, so try a weak constitution, and break down a 
strong one. Snow and ice are things unknown out 
of the mountains, in California, Oregon and Nevada. 
The summer sun is fiercer than in the Middle and 
New England States ; but its oppressiveness is 
broken by a constant vitality in the air, and uni- 
formly cool nights, that do not accompany your 
July and August weather in the East. Neither the 
long summer drouth nor the winter rains appear 
to be an element of ill health or even of great dis- 
comfort to an invalid in themselves. The rains are 
not oppressive save in the central valley of Oregon ; 
and their chief inconvenience is felt in the mud in 
the country, as that of the summer's drouth is in 



33^ ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

the deep and sensitive dust, both making walking 
and riding off the pavements a great trial to clean- 
liness and comfort. 

But the evenness of the climate and the inde- 
scribable inspiration of the air are the great features 
of life here, and the great elements in its health. 
There is. a steady tone in the atmosphere, like draft 
of champagne, or subtle presence of iron. It in- 
vites to labor, and makes it possible. Horses can 
travel more miles here in a day than at the East ; 
and men and women feel impelled to an unusual 
activity. San Francisco, which has the advantage 
of the interior in a cooler summer, probably offers 
more working days in the year than any other town 
or city in America ; less occasion for loss from bad 
weather and consequent ill-health. But thfs city, 
though favorable to preserving health, is bad for 
regaining it. Its doctors say it is the easiest place 
to keep well in, but the hardest to get well in. 
They send their invalids into the country. 

It is too early yet to determine the permanent 
influences of the climate of the Pacific Coast upon 
the race. The fast and rough life of the present 
generation here is not sure basis for calculation. 
But the indications are that the human stock will 
be improved both in physical and nervous qual- 
ities. The children are stout and lusty. The 
climate invites and permits with impunity such a 
large open-air life that it could hardly be otherwise. 
There is great freedom from lung difficulties ; but 
the weakness of the country is in nervous affections. 

The journey hither is a serious and tedious one, 



THE FRUITS OF CALIFORNIA. 33/ 

either by land or water, and no really weak invalid 
should undertake it. But persons with a tendency 
to weak lungs, or with a low physical system that 
is being sapped by our rough eastern changes in 
temperature, can undoubtedly come over here with 
advantage, and secure a longer and a heartier life. 
San Francisco is no place for a weak lung in sum- 
mer, however; the interior valleys must then be 
resorted to by those thus afflicted ; but in winter 
this city is as favorable a residence for health as any 
in the State. 

The abundance and variety of fruits and vegeta- 
bles, and their great size and vigorous health, con- 
tinue to be a surprise and a pleasure here. No 
State in the Union has such wealth in these respects 
as California. Nearly everything that the temperate 
and torrid zones unite to offer is hers by birth-right 
or domestication. The southern counties send up 
figs and oranges and bananas and tenderest of 
grapes; the northern, apples in abundance; and 
peaches, strawberries, plums, blackberries and pears 
come from all. And gnarled or wormy fruit is never 
seen ; everything is round, fair and large. So of 
vegetables," — the range is wide ; only Indian corn is 
fastidious and requires to be humored ; and the size 
and perfection of shape and vigor of health are 
uniformly such as are seen in the East only at cattle 
show exhibitions and in small quantities. 

But the fastidious Yankee, who never forgets his 
home or his mother's pies and preserves, insists 
that the quality of the fruit and vegetables is below 
that of the productions of the orchards and gardens 



338 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of the Middle States and New England, — that 
there is just a lower flavor and delicacy in them ; 
a sacrifice of piquancy and richness to perfection of 
shape and bulk. It may be this is only an illustra- 
tion of that great moral truth that Burton used to 
impress upon his Chambers street theater audiences, 
" that the sassengers of infancy never return ; " and 
yet I am inclined to believe there is really some- 
thing in it. But he must be an ungrateful churl, 
however, who is not content with the wealth and 
variety that nature offers us here for food, and at 
comparatively low prices, too. The table can be 
both better and more cheaply spread in nearly all 
respects here in San Francisco, than in any other 
American city at this moment. Butter, perhaps, is 
a weak point, and so is fish ; for though the fish of 
the Pacific are generally the same in species and 
appearance as those of the East, the quality is con- 
fessedly and uniformly below. Everything in the 
markets, however, is sold by the pound ; potatoes 
and grains and fruit, as well as meat and butter. 
But this is surely the fairest test. Weight is the 
finest measure of the real worth of all food ; and why 
should it not be applied to all as to some articles ? 
The best time to see this country is in the spring. 
From February to June, when the rains are dwin- 
dling away to greet the summer drouth, and vege- 
tation of all sorts comes into its freshest, richest 
life, then, according to all testimony, is the most 
charming season for the traveler. All these now 
bare and russet hills, these dead and drear plains, 
are then alive with vigorous green, disputed, shadecl 



THE TIME TO VISIT CALIFORNIA. 339 

and glorified with all the rival and richer colors. 
The wild flowers of California fairly carpet all the 
uncultivated ground. No June prairie of Illinois ; 
no garden of eastern culture can rival them. For 
luxuriance, for variety and depth and hight of color, 
for complete occupation of the hills and the plains, 
all agree that there is nothing like it to be seen any- 
where else in nature. Then, too, the trees are clean 
and fresh ; the live oak groves are enriched to bril- 
liant gardens by the flowers and grass below ; and 
the pine and fir forests hold majestic yet tender 
watch over all the various new life of the woods. 
Those who would visit the Pacific States under the 
most favorable circumstances, for seeing all their 
natural beauty, and studying all their improved re- 
sources, would do best to come around by sea in 
February, and go home overland in September or 
October. That would afford ample time to observe 
everything leisurely, and at its best estate. After 
the first two or three days out from New York, the 
voyage at this season of starting is made under 
mild and pleasant skies on both sides the Continent. 
It is not easy to make any exact comparison be- 
tween the cost of living here and that at the East. 
Prices of everything, both here and there, are now 
much unsettled and fickle ; what might be true to- 
day would be wholly changed next week. Then 
here, there is a lack of settled and uniform habits 
or scales of living ; an irregular, fitful extravagance 
prevails ; in luck, to-day, a man drinks champagne 
and flaunts his jewelry at the Occidental; while 
to-morrow, fortune frowning, he is sponging a din- 



340 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

ner and a drink from his friends, and takes a fifty- 
cent lodging at the What Cheer House. Large 
profits are generally demanded by the traders; 
nothing is sold for less than "two bits" (twenty -five 
cents) ; and a fifty-cent piece is the lowest coin that 
it is respectable to carry, or throw to the man who 
waters your horse. As a general rule, no statement 
can be more intelligent than that it costs about as 
much to live in San Francisco in gold as it does in 
Boston and New York in greenbacks. Food, and 
consequently board, is cheaper than this here ; but 
dry goods and luxuries are generally more. At the 
best hotels, the Occidental and Cosmopolitan, the 
price is three dollars a day in gold, which is the 
same as the four dollars and fifty cents per diem in 
greenbacks of your first New York and Boston 
houses. 

The "What Cheer House" is the famous resort 
for miners and mechanics ; and it has made several 
fine fortunes in furnishing meals and beds at fifty 
cents each. Some of the features of this establish- 
ment are original and noteworthy. It has an es- 
pecial office for receiving clothes to be washed and 
mended, a well chosen popular library with five 
thousand volumes, full files of newspapers and 
magazines, an extensive and valuable cabinet of 
minerals, and a beautiful collection of stuffed birds, 
all for the accommodation and entertainment of its 
guests. Its reading room is generally well-filled 
with plain, rough-looking men, each with book or 
newspaper in hand. The rule of the establishment 
is for every guest to buy a supply of tickets for 



THE SAN FRANCISCO MARKETS. 34! 

meals and lodgings on his arrival, and the proprietor 
redeems with cash what have not been used up 
when the customer leaves. 

A " drink " at an aristocratic San Francisco bar is 
two bits (twenty-five cents), at a more democratic 
establishment one bit (ten cents). There is no coin 
in use less 'than a dime (ten cents); one of these 
answers as "a bit;" two of them will pass for two 
bits, or twenty-five cents ; but the man who often 
offers two dimes for a quarter of a dollar is voted a 
" bummer." Some quotations from the retail family 
markets will still further illustrate the prices of food 
and living here : butter seventy-five cents a pound, 
eggs seventy cents a dozen, hams and bacon thirty 
cents a pound, potatoes one to two and one-half 
cents a pound, cauliflowers one dollar to one dollar 
and twenty-five cents per dozen, green peas five to 
ten cents a pound, apples four to ten cents a pound, 
peaches five to ten cents a pound, pears three to ten 
cents, grapes three to ten cents, new figs eight to 
fifteen cents a pound, dried figs twenty to forty 
cents, chickens seventy-five cents apiece, turkeys 
thirty cents a pound, ducks one dollar and fifty cents 
to two dollars a pair, quails one dollar and fifty cents 
per dozen, rabbits thirty-seven cents a pair, fresh 
galmon eight to twelve cents a pound, smelts ten 
cents a pound, sea bass five to ten cents, codfish ten 
to twelve cents, oranges four dollars to four dollars 
and fifty cents per hundred, lard thirty-three cents 
a pound. French and English dry goods at auction 
sold like this: — Brussels carpets one dollar and 
twenty- five cents to one dollar and sixty-seven 



342 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

cents, velvet carpets one dollar and sixty cents to 
two dollars and fifteen cents, broadcloth two dollars 
and forty-five cents to three dollars, black silks two 
dollars and fifteen cents to two dollars and eighty- 
five cents, plain wool delaines twenty-seven to*thirty 
cents, number five ribbons one dollar to one dollar 
,and seven cents, satinets fifty to sixty-two cents. 
These latter are wholesale rates, of course, and all 
the figures quoted are for specie. 

My readers will infer, what I think I have not ex- 
plicitly stated before, that the currency of these 
States is gold and silver. Paper money has been 
kept out by the force of a very obstinate public 
opinion and the instrumentality of State legislation. 
Our national currency of greenbacks are seen here 
simply as merchandise ; you buy and sell them at 
the brokers, for about seventy-five cents in coin to 
the doll9.r. Of course being made a "legal tender" 
by United States law, it is competent to pay a debt 
here with them ; but no man who should do this 
once, without the sum being made proportionately 
larger of course, could henceforth have any credit 
or standing in the mercantile community. All large 
and long credits are now coupled with an express 
stipulation that they are on a specie footing, and a 
law of the State, known as the "specific contract 
act," protects such arrangements. But public opin- 
ion so far, and in all the small daily transactions of 
trade, is the great and controlling law on the subject. 

These Pacific States never having had any paper 
money of their own, and producing plenty -of the 
material for coin, with a mint for its manufacture, it 



THE "greenback" QUESTION. 343 

was very natural, though unquestionably selfish and 
unpatriotic, for them to resist the debasement and 
supersedure of their currency by the legal tender 
notes, which the general government resorted to 
for m^ans to carry on the war. Their motive in 
excluding them was, of course, to protect their busi- 
ness operations from the dangerous derangements, 
often spreading a wide financial ruin, that are the 
common accompaniments of a cheap and abundant 
currency. But since only activity and prosperity 
are seen to have resulted in the eastern States, — 
while depression and dullness have been creeping 
over affairs in these States, — there has been a grad- 
ual change in public sentiment on the subject. Out 
of San Francisco, and especially in Oregon and 
Nevada, there is evidently a preponderating feeling 
now in favor of introducing the national currency. 
The principal arguments for it are, that the States 
here ought to share in all the responsibilities of 
their sisters in the East ; if the paper money con- 
fers benefits, they should be enjoyed here ; if bur- 
dens, they too should be assumed by those that are 
proud to belong to the national Republic. The 
friends of the introduction also argue that it would 
make money more abundant and cheaper, and 
largely increase the tendency of eastern capitalists 
to make heavy investments on this Coast, and so 
give new life and prosperity to all business here. 

But San Francisco, as the center of all the busi- 
ness and financial operations of these States, holds 
all firmly to the present state of things. Her 
merchants and bankers have prospered all along; 



344 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

many of them are foreigners, and represent foreign 
capital ; and they are not only content to keep the 
business of the country on a specie basis, but are 
determined that it shall be so kept. They argue 
that these States do not need capital so mftch as 
labor ; not money so much as emigration ; and that 
while, as matters have now turned out, it might 
have been well to have accepted the government 
paper at the start, and gradually come to its in- 
fluence upon prices and business, as we did in the 
East, it would create great confusion and disorder 
to make the revolution at the present time, when 
there is a difference of fifty per cent, between the 
two currencies, and the prices based upon them ; 
and, consequently, that it is better to continue as 
they have begun, and await the return of the cur- 
rency of the East to the coin standard. 

The question is being vigorously discussed ; it is, 
indeed, the only live issue in the politics of these 
States ; but so far San Francisco holds dominance 
over all the interior,. and keeps out the greenbacks. 
The tendency of opinion and affairs is against her, 
however ; and the day for a change may not be so 
far distant as it superficially seems. The bankers 
evidently intend to control the subject; and when 
they find they must yield, they will lead, and be the 
first to introduce the paper money. As it now 
stands, however, the question is a difficult and per- 
plexing one to manage practically. It is even 
doubtful if the government could spare enough 
currency from the East to answer for the business 
of these States, so far away from the financial and 



THE MINT AT SAN FRANCISCO. 345 

government centers that they cannot draw supplies 
in one or two days, as all your eastern commercial 
points can. Certainly it will require the co-opera- 
tion of the government at Washington and of the 
State ^governments here, with all the facilities of 
the bankers of this city, to introduce the change 
now without great interruption to the progress of 
trade and possible ruin to many delicate interests. 
Utah and Colorado have the paper money of the 
East in use ; but all the States and Territories this 
side of them employ only gold and silver, in sym- 
pathy with the fountain head of San Francisco. 

Of all the government institutions in San Fran- 
cisco, the Mint is the most interesting and impor- 
tant. Already it is the great manufactory of coin 
in the Nation, and its comparative importance in 
this respect is destined to increase. It coins now 
about twenty millions of gold and silver a year, 
against five millions coined at all the other govern- 
ment mints in the country, including the parent 
mint at Philadelphia. The coinage here for June 
and July was nearly three millions a month, and the 
aggregate for this year is likely to go up to twenty- 
four millions. Mints elsewhere on the Pacific Coast, 
and in the mining regions, are utterly unnecessary. 
There is one at Denver in Colorado, but it has 
nothing to do, — the gold of the Colorado and Mon- 
tana mines goes right by it, in dust or bars, to New 
York and Philadelphia. Efforts are making to get 
mints in Nevada and in Oregon, but they would 
only prove a waste of money. No local clamor of 
politicians, seeking home popularity or contractors' 



34^ ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

jobs for friends, should induce Congress to yield to 
such demands. Two mints are only needed for the 
whole country, at New York or Philadelphia, and at 
San Francisco. The metals, as soon as mined, drift 
at once to the commercial and financial centers; 
there only can their true value be known, — there 
only the use to which commerce may choose to put 
them. Sometimes, she demands their exportation 
in bars, and again in coin. Besides, the business of 
coining is an intricate and delicate one, requiring 
large responsibilities, expensive establishments, and 
men of both science and integrity. It should not 
be needlessly cheapened and scattered. Govern- 
ment may well have assay offices in all the mining 
districts, acting as branches of the mints, to receive 
the metals, and give coin or exchange for their full 
value, minus the bare cost of manipulating, in order 
to accommodate especially the poorer and smaller 
miners ; but the multiplication of mints, I repeat, is 
an unnecessary, wasteful, and dangerous operation. 
The Mint here is now in charge of one of the 
best merchants of the city, Mr. R. B. Swain, but it 
has no adequate accommodations. It is crowded 
into the back and upper rooms of an old and ordi- 
nary block in the principal business street. But 
provision has been made by Congress for a distinct 
and appropriate building. The metals are received 
at the Mint in all manner of half-worked forms, in 
dust, nuggets, rough bars, silver and gold mixed 
together, and more or less dross with all. Each 
parcel is kept distinct, first assayed, to discover its 
exact value, and then worked over, the dross ex- 



THE WORLD S BALANCING-HOUSE. 34/ 

pelled, and the silver and gold separated. Fire, 
water and chemicals are the means employed. The 
processes are simple enough and exquisitely enter- 
taining, as you follow them with eye and intelligent 
explanation. The results are returned to the owner 
either in solid bars, bearing official stamp of their 
value, or in freshly made coin. 

Much gold and silver are already exported direct 
from here to China to settle the balances of trade 
of both New York and London merchants ; and 
when the Pacific Railroad is done, and the line of 
steamships to China is running, San Francisco, as 
the center of the gold and silver producing region 
of the world, and the half-way house of commerce, 
will become the great financial and balancing center 
for all the trade between Europe and America, and 
Asia. 



LETTER XXX. 

THE MINING QUESTIONS AGAIN: GENERAL 
REVIEW. 



San Francisco, September i. 
I MUST go back to the Mines for a renewed word 
of caution to the East. You are tempted there 
with all sorts of seductive ventures in the way of 
mining in these Pacific States. There are many 
men, both there and here, busy in working up a 
furore for investments in this business. Every 
steamer carries speculators and adventurers to the 
East, with mines to sell, — good, bad and indiffer- 
ent, — but mostly uncertain. These have often 
been; and are likely to be, made the basis of joint 
stock companies of mammoth capitals, yet low- 
priced shares ; their prospects set before the public 
in flaming advertisements, studded with stunning 
statements as to the assay of the ore and the as- 
sured prospects of the company. It is safe to ad- 
vise people to put no trust in such enterprises. It 
is safe to assert that the money made by them will 
be made out of the stock-buyers, and not out of the 
mines, and shared by the officers of the company 
and their friends. Very likely, the latter are in the 
first instance swindled in the purchase of the mines, 
and that they are only repeating, in another form 



CAUTION TO CAPITALISTS. 349 

and before a larger audience, the game that has been 
played on them. Most of the mines now being of- 
fered to the eastern public are so remotely located, 
distant from markets, from wood and water, that, 
even if valuable in themselves, they cannot for many 
years to come be worked to advantage and profit. 
No investments, I repeat, should be made in 
mines in this region, except after the most intelli- 
gent and complete study of the whole subject, and 
of the merits of the special enterprise offered, either 
by the capitalist himself, or by some one in whom 
he can place the most implicit confidence. Not 
only the mine itself should offer assured evidence 
of value, and of favorable location, but the capitalist 
should also be assured of its management here by 
persons of both intelligence and integrity. This 
point is as vital as the other, and as difficult, more 
difficult indeed, to be secured. These qualities of 
intelligence and integrity are rare here, and com- 
mand a high price. They can generally do better 
than to work for other people. Eastern capitalists, 
investing largely, — and it is certainly best to invest 
enough to command their personal attention, or not 
at all,-~will always find it wise to send out one of 
their own number, or a person equally dependable, 
to oversee the expenditures and direct the financial 
part of their operations, and let him find here that 
scientific and practical knowledge on the subject of 
mining, that he cannot of course possess. This he 
will obtain in mining engineers of repute, and in 
old practical miners, the latter most often men who 
have been foremen or overseers in mines or mills. 



350 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

The discoverers and prospectors of mines are a class 
by themselves, and are rarely the right men to work 
a mine for other people. 

I find my conviction of distrust of indiscriminate 
investments in mining, and my growing conserva- 
tism on the whole subject, abundantly confirmed by 
the experience and testimony of others. There is 
but one voice among the oldest and best business 
men of this city, — men who have gone through all 
the mining excitements of the Coast and shared in 
them all, — and that is in fullest sympathy with what 
I have written. Mr. Charles Allen of Boston, the 
reporter for your Massachusetts Supreme Court, 
who has followed our party through the Nevada 
silver and the California gold mining districts, ex- 
amining them and their operations with even more 
of strictness and detail, in behalf of eastern clients 
and capitalists, than we did, I find has written 
home almost exact transcripts of my conclusions, 
without any knowledge of what these were. We 
find them fully confirmed, too, by the printed opin- 
ions of Professor Whitney of the California State 
Geological Survey, on record here. Mr. William 
Ashburner, who has be6n the mineralogist of that 
survey, and is now the confidential mining engineer 
of some of the most important enterprises and in- 
terests on this Coast, — and who is from Stockbridge, 
(Mass.,) and the son-in-law of Mr. Jonathan E. 
Field of that town, — acts confidently and cautiously 
on the same principles, and all his experience justi- 
fies their soundness. There is no higher or more 
intelligent authority on these subjects than he. 



DOUBLE INJURY OF DECEPTION. 35 1 

None of those who hold these views behttle the 
mineral wealth of these States. Those who know 
most about it have, indeed, the largest ideas of its 
extent and its value. But even thus utterly unable 
to measure these riches and the amounts to be 
drawn from them for the use of the world, they have 
learned how fickle are their individual deposits, how 
incomplete and uneconomical are present modes of 
extracting and working them, how remote from 
supplies are their best fields, and how difficult, al- 
most impossible, has been and still is the reduction 
of the business of mining to order and legitimacy. 
Those, too, who have the true interests of these 
States at heart, who foresee their future, and would 
have their progress steady and sure, cannot but 
look upon the invitation of eastern capital hither 
under false expectations and by deceptive enter- 
prises, with equal sorrow and indignation. The 
fraud and the injury are as great to the West as the 
East. Every dollar swindled out of the Atlantic 
States by speculating adventure on the Pacific loses 
at least two dollars on the great balance-sheet to 
this section. It will keep that much, at least, back 
from legitimate enterprise and investment here. 
There is field enough on this Coast and the way 
hither for all the capital and all the labor the East 
can spare,— legitimate, honorable, profitable field; 
and so every dollar, every hand turned from this to 
unremunerative, baseless enterprise, is indeed a 
double fraud. Sound theories and healthy habits 
as to mining are fast becoming dominant here ; few 
enterprises, controlled by old miners and long resi- 



352 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

dents, are not now meeting with some degree of 
success, or carried on with a fair integrity. Only 
eastern creduhty and passion, fed of course by reck- 
less cupidity here, can repeat on a large scale the 
lamentable experience through which this wisdom 
has been gained. I warn all whom my words may 
reach against feeding or yielding to the passion; 
for they peril in it both their consciences and their 
cash, and bring injury to the best interests of Cali- 
fornia and her sister States. 

The results of the geological survey of Califor- 
nia, under Professor Whitney, just now beginning 
to come before the public, will aid materially in the 
dissemination of reliable knowledge on all subjects 
connected with the State's wealth and the opportu- 
nities for its development. That survey is one of 
the most comprehensive and thorough scientific la- 
bors of the description ever attempted in this coun- 
try; so far as known, its results have challenged 
the admiration of scientific men everywhere ; both 
its intelligence and its integrity are unimpeachable ; 
and the State of California owes it to her best in- 
terests and to her reputation the world over to 
carry the work through on the high scale with 
which it has been commenced, disregarding the 
suggestions of prejudiced ignorance, the clamor of 
baffled speculation, and the appeal of a narrow 
economy. No money can be so well expended by 
California as in telhng the world exactly what she 
is, in whole and in detail ; and this is the work that 
Professor Whitney has carried forward to its near, 
triumphant completion. 



NEW MINING DISTRICT IN CALIFORNIA. 353 

Looking back over our mining experiences, and 
taking the average testimony of each district as 
equally reliable, I find myself impressed with the su- 
perior richness of the Colorado gold mines. Their 
ore averaged as uniformly one hundred dollars a 
ton, as that of Nevada, either Austin or Virginia, or 
of California does fifty dollars. The extraction is 
not as complete because of the more intricate na- 
ture of the precious deposits ; but means to over- 
come this, though perhaps at enlarged cost, seemed 
successfully initiated while we were there. 

There has been opened a new mining district in 
California the present season, in the extreme west- 
ern part of Nevada County, among the higher hills 
of the Sierras, and near the line of the Pacific rail- 
road, whose ores resemble those of Colorado, both 
in richness and in peculiarity of combinations, and 
which, already attracting great attention, seems des- 
tined to become both popular and profitable. The 
poorer portions of the ore of one mine are sold on the 
spot at forty dollars a ton ; and the rest are taken 
some distance to be worked. But the first and most 
important step in the successful treatment of all of it 
is believed to be roasting, which is not a common pro- 
cess in California. A single chunk of ore from this 
mine was so fat with wealth that it yielded at the 
rate of over thirty-nine hundred dollars to the ton ! 

There is even increased doubt and anxiety as to the 
future of the Comstock Ledge in Nevada, which is 
the great mineral deposit of the Continent, if not the 
world. The mines are turning out bullion more rich- 
ly than in early summer ; but they are spending large 



354 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

sums for explorations for new deposits, with results 
that are, on the whole, disheartening. Dividends are 
decreasing and stopping ; assessments coming ; and 
the stocks are about half the rates in the spring. 

The gold and copper mines down in Arizona, 
along the Colorado River, as it runs between that 
Territory and California, are also coming more into 
favor and development. That river offers conven- 
ient and cheap access to them ; and the chief ob- 
stacles, as yet, are the lack of steam communication, 
the barrenness of the neighboring country, and the 
hostility of the Indians. Mr. Charles L. Strong, 
the famous superintendent of the famous Gould & 
Curry mine in Virginia, until within two years, has 
just returned from an exploring expedition in that 
direction, and reports most valuable discoveries of 
mines, which he has taken up in behalf of some 
heavy New York capitalists, whom he represents. 

From Idaho we hear already of deserted villages 
and impoverished gold-diggings ; successful mining 
there is fast falling back on the quartz leads ; and 
as a consequence the occupation of the " wandering 
Jews," the pioneers in gold-hunting, is gone. The 
experience of the East with oil wells is a fit parallel 
to the mining experience of the Pacific States. The 
excitement, the speculation, the lucky hits of the few, 
the losses and disappointments of the many, the sud- 
den creation of a town with all the elements of civili- 
zation, and its almost as sudden desertion for new and 
more favored localities, — in all these features and in 
many incidental ones, the history of one experience 
is counterpart and repetition of that of the other. 



COPPER AND QUICKSILVER. 355 

Copper and quicksilver are to be added to the 
profitable mineral productions of California. The 
most brilliant success has attended the discovery 
and working of both these valuable metals, each, 
however, in a single locality. The copper mines 
he in the foot-hills of the Sierras, a day's ride west 
from Stockton, and the town they have built up is 
called appropriately Copperopolis. They are being 
developed very extensively and with much profit; 
no less than three thousand tons of the ore goes 
East and to England every month ; and an increase 
from these and other mines to twenty thousand tons 
a month is predicted by another year. The suc- 
cessful smelting of the ore for the metal is not in- 
troduced here yet, except on a small scale. The pro- 
cesses abroad are so much cheaper and more com- 
plete that it pays better to ship the rough ore direct. 

The great mines of Cinnabar, from which quick- 
silver is extracted, are those of New Almaden, on 
the inside of the Coast hills, about sixty miles south 
of San Francisco; and they have become one of 
the most curious and interesting objects for visit 
and inspection in all California. Their discovery 
and successful working have had a marked influence 
upon the mining interests of the country, since 
quicksilver is universally used, and in large quanti- 
ties, to separate the gold and silver from the parti- 
cles of dross with which they are bound up in the 
ore, and the production of the article throughout 
the world is quite limited. Spain, Peru and Austria 
only have mines of it besides California; and the 
New Almaden now controls the prices for the world. 



356 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Its present production is four thousand to five thou- 
sand flasks a month, worth forty dollars a fl.ask, and 
the net profits of the operation are about one hun- 
dred thousand dollars a month. The history of this 
property, its discovery and ownership, has been full 
of romance ; there was great dispute over it, a long 
contest in law, vast sums paid in litigation, and 
finally a purchase of rival claims. It is now owned 
by a. New York company, with a capital of ten 
millions, and is a magnificent property. The cin- 
nabar is a red, brick-looking earth or ore, which is 
dug from its veins like any other ore, fashioned into 
small squares or bricks, built up into a kiln, and 
then fire set under and among it ; and the precious 
quicksilver exudes in a liquid stream or vapor, and 
is caught and bottled for market. 

Other cinnabar veins of promise, as other copper 
mines, are in existence, and to a greater or less ex- 
tent improved, but these are the distinctive and 
controlling interests in both metals. In crossing 
the Rocky Mountains from Denver to Salt Lake 
City, I remember seeing evidences of generous cin- 
nabar deposits at various points along the North 
Platte ; and the United States are probably destined 
to be the great producers of quicksilver. 

California is not without its petroleum, also: 
there has been fierce dispute as to its existence ; 
much of furore in the search for it ; and much wild 
speculation, into which the East has been drawn 
most unprofitably, upon the basis of its discovery 
in large quantities. That it exists, in greater or less 
degree, in some form or another, in one or two of 



THE PETROLEUM FEVER OIL VS. WINE. 35/ 

the distant Coast counties, may no longer be dis- 
puted ; but it yet remains to be proven whether it 
exists under successful commercial circumstances, 
that is, whether it will pay. I believe there is no 
well-authenticated case of a flowing well yet ; I am 
sure much more money has been put into the wells 
than has been taken from them ; and I am positive 
that the only money yet made from petroleum on 
the Pacific Coast has been made by the land-own- 
ers and the speculators. The oil fever has clearly 
a better basis and a more healthy promise in the 
East than at the West ; and yet, under the influence 
of rhetorical representations by speculators and 
their agents, two companies of eastern capitalists 
have put up large sums of money, and bought a 
quarter of a million of acres of supposed oil lands 
in the southern counties of California. Their 
search for the oil has not had brilliant success yet ; 
and one of the companies has adopted the very 
sensible plan of turning their land to good account 
by planting it with grape vines and going into the 
manufacture of wine. This is not the entertain- 
ment to which they invited themselves, but it cer- 
tainly promises better results. They propose to set 
out ten millions of vines within two years ; and the 
other company in the same position will probably 
follow suit with both vines and olives. This is an 
odd turn for a petroleum speculation to take, but it 
is fortunate for the true interests of California, and 
if well followed up will prove remunerative to the 
victims of the oil fever, — and Professor Silliman's 
rhetorical report. 



LETTER XXXI. 

THE FAREWELL FESTIVITIES : POLITICS AND POL- 
ITICIANS. 



San Francisco, September 2. 
There is something of pathos in the very word 
parting. Few can confront the fact, can break any 
experience, from which Hfe has been taken, or to 
which hfe has been given, without a flutter in the 
heart. But this is my last letter from the Pacific 
Coast. This morning ends the record of the "Col- 
fax party " on this shore : we are closing that wealth 
of experience which it is difficult to believe has 
been made ours in only four months' time : host and 
hostess gather to whelm us with final generosity ; 
to give co2Lp de grace to a summer of such hospi- 
tality, both of sense and spirit, as was never ours 
before. Do you wonder we are all a trifle senti- 
mental ; and that I, would coin my daintiest phrase 
for the final adieux.? Yet the themes left on my 
note-book are prosaic and practical ; and poetry fit 
to the occasion is felt better than written. Besides, 
these emotions, voiced to Atlantic shore, would 
reach unsympathizing ears. So you shall not know 
these words that are uttered, these scenes that are 
transpiring, in hotel parlor and steamer saloon, this 



THE LAST WEEK IN SAN FRANCISCO. 359 

morning, as guest and host are parting. They 
belong to those things that should always be taken 
"during the efFervescence." 

Our final visit in San Francisco has been crowded 
with most agreeable attentions, both of a public and 
a private character.. Not half that were proffered 
could be enjoyed. Excursions to the country, and 
on the bay ; visits to public institutions of the city 
and neighborhood ; the seeing of the Mechanics' 
Fair, a fine exposition of the manufacturing indus- 
try and art ambition of California ; addresses here, 
there, everywhere ; private breakfasts and dinners ; 
and a grand final and farewell ball and banquet by 
the bankers and merchants of the city, at the Oc- 
cidental Hotel, — this has been the entertainment to 
which Mr. Colfax and his companions have been 
invited during the last week. But all are over 
now, — the Speaker has made his farewell speech ; 
Governor Bross has addressed the last Sunday 
School ; the brass band is hushed, — 

"And silence, like a poultice, comes, 
To heal the blows of sound ; — " 

the final photograph is taken, — and rare photo- 
graphs, indeed, both of faces and scenery, do skill 
of the artist and clearness of the air combine to 
produce on this Coast : the tongue has wagged its 
last good-bye ; and the hour of waving handker- 
chiefs is passing! 

Conspicuous among the more private entertain- 
ments of the week was a dinner party to Mr. Colfax 
by the leading banker of the city, and to which 



360 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

were gathered from twenty to thirty of the most 
noted and notable bankers and business men of the 
Coast, heads and managers of the great enterprises 
of the Pacific. It was a rare collection of strong 
men, real kings in this Israel, and no city of the 
Atlantic could marshal a superior. The dinner it- 
self was a triumph, was high art itself, in its way. 
It was said to have never had its equal before in 
San Francisco ; and I certainly never sat through 
its superior, for richness and rarity, both in its ele- 
ments and their serving, anywhere. 

The farewell ball and banquet was a brilliant fete 
of a more public character. Two or three hundred 
ladies and gentlemen joined in the festival; the 
hotel was surrendered to its accommodation; the 
tickets were no less than twenty-five dollars in gold ; 
and in aggregate and in detail, in preparation and 
achievement, it was as elegant and as flattering an 
entertainment and social compliment as ever city 
tendered or citizen received. There is more catho- 
licity of feeling as to such amusements among 
church people here than in the East; dancing is 
not a sin, even, among the San Francisco orthodox ; 
and the guests were greeted at this ball by the 
leaders in every good word and work in the town, 
who, men and women, made themselves gay with 
its pleasures, and contributed to its brilliancy with 
their beauty and grace. I Jiad a home pride in 
recognizing, in the most womanly of the women 
and the most beautiful of the belles, a daughter and 
grand-daughter, respectively, of our good old, half- 
century pastor of Springfield First church, the late 



THE RESCUE FROM DISUNION. 36 1 

venerable and venerated Dr. Osgood. I note, also, 
as excellent example for eastern evening routs, 
among which I never saw it, the serving of hot 
beef-tea, with just a smack of claret in it, as a con- 
stant refreshment during the evening. It is a most 
grateful and delicate substitute for the accustomed 
spirit and tea and coffee, that leave such wreck of 
nerves the next day ; and it did not on this occasion 
interfere with the grand banquet of the night, that 
was the crowning feast of the week. 

The politics of these Pacific States are now in 
hearty sympathy with those which are dominant in 
the East. Their rescue from the danger of co- 
operation with the southern rebellion, or the temp- 
tation to take advantage of the opportunity and set 
up a kingdom by themselves, seems to have been al- 
most miraculous, certainly was very narrow. There 
were strong elements and many circumstances that 
were leading, or likely to lead, these States in one 
direction or the other. Had they been enjoying 
then a vigorous and sure prosperity, the temptation 
and clamor for independence would, indeed, have 
been dangerous. But there was here, as in the 
East, a sudden and contagious uprising of the peo- 
ple for the government and the Union, that swept 
all discussion before it, and saved these States from 
anarchy, and the Republic a unit. So marked was 
the revolution that it seemed almost the work of 
one man, Rev. T. Starr King, whose voice was first 
and warmest and truest. But he was rather the 
leader than the creator of the public feeling; it 
would have found other prophets, had he been want- 
16 



^02 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

ing, and groped and stumbled somehow to the same 
conclusions. Yet his clear, magnetic voice and 
kindling spirit gave expression and conviction to 
the slumbering, half-aroused feeling; and to his 
memory be great glory indeed. 

California, Nevada and Oregon are now appar- 
ently as fixed and decided in the possession of the 
republican or Union party, as the average of the 
States of the East. The type of their public men 
is also much improved by the change from the old 
democratic and pro-slavery rule. The lack of per- 
sonal and political integrity, and of consequent in- 
fluence, on the part of their representatives in 
Congress, has confessedly been a chief reason for 
the want of consideration which these States and 
their interests have suffered from at the hands of 
the government. They have never seemed to have 
the comprehension to see and say what was wanted 
by their constituents, or the influence to secure it. 
The new men are not generally conspicuous for in- 
tellectual ability ; men of that stamp here have too 
often prostituted their character for gain or pleasure, 
or are too much absorbed in the great business en- 
terprises of the country to give themselves up to 
public affairs ; but the present representatives at 
Washington and governors of the States are almost 
uniformly gentlemen of high personal integrity, 
great good sense, and large practical qualities for 
these trusts. Governors Blasdell of Nevada, Low 
of this State, and Gibbs of Oregon are all of this 
stamp. They inspire faith and confidence, and give 
firm hope for States led by them. 



THE PACIFIC SENATORS STARR KING. 363 

Perhaps the most influential, intellectual mind 
among the Pacific congressmen is that of Senator 
Stewart of Nevada. He shows quaUties of the first 
order, comprehending the affairs of his section, and 
stating them with vigorous effect. Mr. Conness, 
the California senator, is a disciple of Broderick, 
and possesses great perseverance and force, and a 
conceded integrity in public affairs, but does not 
inherit the breadth and commanding qualities of 
his predecessor and patron. He is too much the 
victim of his hatreds and his self-conceit for largest 
power ; he is rather the leader of a faction than the 
senator of a State. His unworthy democratic asso- 
ciate, McDougal, is speedily to be succeeded by a 
Union man, the canvass for whose selection is now 
in hot progress. It is impossible yet to say who 
will be chosen. In intellectual gifts, the most con- 
spicuous candidate has been Mr. John B. Felton, 
brother of the late President Felton of Harvard 
College, and a leading lawyer here ; but his lack of 
sympathy with the Union, when it was in peril and 
its fate doubtful, and his share in private schemes 
against the public welfare and the public purse, have 
already stamped his impudent pretensions with de- 
feat. There are half a dozen other candidates, from 
whom a creditable choice can hardly fail to be made 
by the next winter's Legislature. 

But there is a manifest lack of men of quick per- 
ceptions and strong grasp and influence among the 
politicians of these States. This senatorial vacan- 
cy, seeking fitting occupant, would be the occasion 
for Starr King, were he living; his transference 



364 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

from the pulpit to public life would have been a 
fitting thing, and greatly to the credit of California. 
It is interesting to note the sacred fame this man 
has left here; there is none more sacred. in all Cali- 
fornia history ; he is the saint of the Pacific shore. 
Those who knew him at the East cannot under- 
stand it; nor Vv^hat he was here. He had, in this, 
position, and under the occasion of. the war, and the 
doubtful course of California, a new baptism, a re- 
creation as man and orator ; and his personal influ- 
ence and political power, — the revolution and devel- 
opment of public opinion that he led, — are among 
the curious and impressive circumstances in per- 
sonal history. 

California sends three new men of worth to the 
House this year. Mr. McRuer from the San Fran- 
cisco district, is an intelligent merchant of Maine 
and Scotch origin, and is sure to command influ- 
ence in Washington. General Bidwell from the 
north, is a farmer of broad acres and capacity, and 
Mr. Higby is a lawyer from the interior. 

Nevada also has a new senator to choose the 
next year, in place of General Nye, v/ho will proba- 
bly not be returned again. The politics of Oregon 
are in danger of a counter revolution, through a 
large emigration this season from Missouri, Iowa 
and Illinois, the majority of whom will be of dem- 
ocratic, southern sympathizing. This emigration 
numbers from seven to ten thousand, men, women 
and children, and will prove a valuable contribution 
to the State's population and fundamental sources 
of wealth, though it imperil the tone of her politics. 



LOYALTY A PASSION. 365 

Mr. Nesmith, the senator, whose time is about ex- 
piring, will hardly be the choice again of either 
party, for he holds close communion with neither. 
He is accredited with advocating McClellan before 
election, and supporting Mr. Lincoln and his pol- 
icy afterwards. Not a great man, he has sterling 
.qualities of sense and honesty, and has proven a 
useful legislator. To him is attributed that excel- 
lent saying that, on coming to Washington and see- 
ing the august Capitol and the dignified Senate, he 
wondered how he came to be sent there ; but after 
being there a few weeks, his wonder was still great- 
er how the rest of them got there ! Farther north, 
Washington Territory has testified her sympathy 
with the new thought and life of the nation, by the 
choice of a sterling Union man and pronounced 
republican to Congress. 

The loyalty and the patriotism of these Pacific 
States are surely not less vigorous than those 
nearer the center of national life. With many the 
feeling here seems more' a passion, a fashion, than 
a principle, and it is often intolerant and rough 
towards those who are suspected of opposition. 
There has, indeed, been less freedom of speech and 
action in national politics in Nevada and California, 
during the last year, than in New England. This 
is explainable, however, by the intenser life of the 
country, the more passionate habit of the people, 
and the fact that the supporters of General McClel- 
lan here were almost invariably genuine secession- 
ists in heart and often in manifestation. The lines 
were drawn here more narrowly and distinctly than 



366 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

in the East, where many truly loyal and patriotic 
men were found voting with the democrats. But 
if intolerance and injustice are ever excusable, when 
more so than for a Union* endangered, and barely 
rescued, as it seemed here, from the unholy power 
of its enemies? 

I must linger on the shore for an almost forgotten 
paragraph about the Indians of the Pacific States. 
They did not vex our travel this side the Rocky 
Mountains, as their brethren did on the other ; but 
we saw them constantly in our journeys through 
the interior. In Utah and Nevada, a poor, dirty, 
squalid race ; apparently inoffensive and incompe- 
tent; beggars and poor servants. In Cahfornia 
and Oregon and Washington, subdued, and a shade 
civilized, industrious in small degree, farming a lit- 
tle, fishing a good deal, — hewers of wood and draw- 
ers of water, — but fading out fast. Along the Co- 
lumbia, they were squatted in numbers by the river 
bank, laying in their annual supplies of salmon, but 
living for the most part back in the mountains. 
There is a little war with the Indians in northern 
Nevada, and the Apaches down in Arizona, a stal- 
wart and fighting race, are making serious trouble, 
so that troops have been sent to subdue them ; but 
for the rest of the Pacific Coast, the remnants of 
the Indian tribes are apparently peaceable and dis- 
posed to continue so. The testimony is universal 
in these States that the whites have originated most 
of the troubles with the Indians. The great Ore- 
gon Indian war of some years ago was clearly pro- 
voked by whites, as a means of speculating in sup- 



THE INDIANS, AND THE " SLANG." • 36/ 

plies for carrying on the war against them. The 
lust of coarse white men for their women ; the 
introduction of whiskey among them ; abuse and 
maltreatment in various ways are the origin of a 
good many Indian outrages, and these lead into al- 
most necessary wars of extermination. The Indian 
revenges indiscriminately; when he turns, he falls 
on innocent as likely as on guilty; and so wars 
arise, and go on. Often, doubtless, too, is this the 
case, East and West : mean and sordid whites stir 
the Indian's blood, teach him the ways of mischief, 
wherein ignorance and barbarity have made him an 
apt scholar, and robbery, murder and war ensue in 
order. The path of government duty is difficult to 
trace through such crossing links of criminality ; 
but the ends of keeping the lines of travel open, 
the telegraph unbroken, emigration safe, and civili- 
zation progressing, are certain. These things must 
be, even if they oblige the government to antici- 
pate the natural extermination of time. But this 
ought not to be necessary, and need not, if our In- 
dian department were both vigorously and wisely 
administered. 

The slang phrases and idioms, original and in use 
among the people of these States, are very odd, and 
some of them quite expressive. Few or none of 
those I noticed in Colorado are known here. Each 
section has a set of its own. "You bet" is one of 
the most common here ; it is a strong affirmation 
or approval, as the " That's so " of the East. " Get " 
or " You get " is go, go along, clear out ; drivers 
shout this to their horses. "Get up and Git," and 



T,6S ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

" Get up and Dust," are enlarged, emphasized forms 
of the same. "You can't prove it by me" is also 
very common for doubt or disapproval or ignorance ; 
and "None of it in mine" is dechnation of proffer, 
and the like, and was probably borrowed from the 
declination to 'take " bitters " or any extra fillip in 
one's drink. " Bilk " stands for a humbug, an im- 
poster, a "poor coot." "On it" is a much-used, 
condensed, epigrammatic phrase, with varying ap- 
plications. It signifies, in that line, after something 
especial, determined, in earnest, and the like. As 
applied to a woman, it generally means that she is 
in a wicked way. "Weaken " and " To weaken" are 
very expressive, meaning failing strength, courage or 
purpose. A man "weakens" is that he is backing 
down or backing out. The mines furnish many 
new phrases : " Pan out " for turning out or amount- 
ing to ; as, a man will "pan out" good or bad, or an 
enterprise "pans out" much or little. "Peter out" 
is coming to nothing, failing, giving out altogether. 
"Show" and "color" come from the evidences of 
gold found in washing sand, and are applied to per- 
sons and things and undertakings. " Corral," from 
the Spanish word for cattle-guard or high fence, is 
applied to catching, cornering, getting into control. 
Thus I heard a man in Nevada say the Montgomery 
street brokers had " corralled " all the stock of a cer- 
tain mine, and could, therefore, put it up or down as 
they pleased. 

But I am lingering beyond my date on these 
themes. The last gun of the steamer is fired ; the 
farewell banners of good-will and affection are fad- 



home: CALIFORNIA'S FUTURE, 369 

ing from view ; the Golden Gate grows wide at our 
approach ; the Golden City sails out into the broad 
Pacific sea ; and we turn our eyes and our thoughts, 
forward for Home. But California and her sister 
States enlarge upon the inward, the backward vis- 
ion. It runs quickly and surely to a world-encirc- 
ling commerce, a world-embracing civilization, an 
Empire that shall be the glory and the culmination 
of the American Republic. The share and the 
duty of the present generation. East and West, in 
this progress, is the Pacific Railroad. Let them' 
not linger over that ! 

16* 24 



LETTER XXXII. 

THE VOYAGE HOxME BY STEAMSHIP AND THE 
ISTHMUS. 



New York, September 23, 1865. 
No one's knowledge of California life is complete, 
who does not go or come by the steamship and 
Panama route. It offers as strange and interesting 
and instructive experience as any other feature of 
our summer journeyings over the Continent. It is 
the main, almost sole route for business and pleas- 
ure travel between the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts. 
Two or three thousand persons pass each way by it 
every month. Where one goes overland, hundreds 
take this route. There is no ocean steamship route 
in the world, over which so many people have passed 
and are passing ; none on which the service is so 
well performed as it has been on a part of this, and 
promises to be henceforth on the whole ; none that 
introduces the traveler to such novelties of climate 
and scenery and peoples, — none which affords so va- 
ried and unique experiences with nature and human 
nature. It is as odd and anomalous as nearly every- 
thing else is that belongs to California and the Pa- 
cific Coast. The stamp of originality imprints itself 
on all the features of that country and its civilization. 



YOUR COMPANIONS ON THE VOYAGE. 37 1 

Going to Europe by steamship is ten or twelve 
days on a rough sea, out sight of land, in the same 
latitude and climate, in company with two hundred to 
three hundred people at the outside, who are pretty 
much like yourself, or at least with whose idiosyncra- 
sies you are more or less famiHar. To many this voy- 
age is only a dreary confinement to rolling berth ; an 
imprisonment, without the security of penitentiary. 
Coming from California by steamer is to this as a 
kaleidoscope to common spectacles. You have for 
companions one thousand, more or less, — and oftener 
more than less, — of the all-est sorts of people. The 
steamship i's larger, more commodious and conven- 
ient than any other elsewhere. There are two hun- 
•dred or more first class passengers, perhaps three 
hundred second class, and four hundred to five hun- 
dred steerage. The latter are quartered forward, 
deck and hold, and are limited to that portion of the 
vessel. The first and second classes occupy the cen- 
ter and stern of the ship, and have many rights in 
common. Both eat in the same saloon, but their 
meals are served at different hours. The state- 
rooms of the first class are on deck ; the berths of the 
second class are below : perhaps the chief distinction, 
however, is that the first class dine at four, and the 
second at one. They mingle very much together on 
deck, and morals and manners are generally as good 
in one set as the other. The food is good, even lux- 
urious, and nearly equal to first class hotel fare : beef, 
mutton, pork and poultry are carried on board alive, 
and the butcher has his daily slaughtering to do, to 
keep this army of hungry boarders in meats. 



3/2 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

The crowd is the only source of standing discom^ 
fort. We are as thick as flies in August ; four and 
five in a state-room ; we must needs divide into eat- 
ing battalions, and go twice for our meals: would 
we have chairs to sit in shade around the decks, we 
must buy and bring them: there is no privacy; 
gamblers jostle preachers ; commercial women di- 
vide state-rooms with fine ladies ; honest miners in 
red flannel sit next my New York exquisite in 
French broadcloth: — and as for the babies, they 
fairly swarm, — the ship is one grand nursery ; and 
like the British drum-beat, the discordant music of 
their discomfort follows sun, moon and stars through 
every one of every twenty-four hours. There were 
at least one hundred of them on our ship ; and new 
and kinder notions of old King Herod prevailed 
among suffering passengers. The new historian 
Froude makes saint and anchorite of wife-changing, 
woman-killing Henry the Eighth : why should not 
some ambitious rival, gaining new light from the 
California voyage, make public benefactor of baby- 
slaughtering Herod .^ 

We go out the Golden Gate into the Pacific ocean, 
and turn down along the shore. It is three thou- 
sand miles, or fourteen days, from San Francisco to 
Panama ; from latitude thirty-eight degrees to seven 
degrees, from temperate to tropic. There is rarely 
any rough sea in this part of the trip ; for most of 
the way, the steamer keeps in sight of the land ; 
some captains on the route make straight lines and 
go across the mouths of giilfs and bays and other 
indentations of water into land, — and so sometimes 



DOWN THE PACIFIC COAST. 373 

meet severer sea and storm ; but our accomplished 
Captain Bradbury of Golden City finds economy of 
coal, equal progress, and greater pleasure to pas- 
sengers in following the Coast around, — and so we 
kept company with rock and niountain and verdure 
for at least eleven of our fourteen days. For much 
of the way, we were within rifle shot of land ; we' 
could see the different kinds of trees, houses and 
men, and study geography to perfection ; it was like 
sailing down a broad river or through a pond, for 
often, by days together, the water was as mirror for 
smoothness ; and only once or twice, and for a few 
hours then, were sensitive stomachs upbraided and 
upheaved for Neptune's sake. Indeed, it is steam- 
boating, rather than steamshipping, on the Pacific 
side ; and the boats can be and are larger, — up to 
four thousand tons in capacity and four hundred 
feet in length, — than on the Atlantic, with wide and 
convenient guards along the deck, that are forbidden 
in rougher seas. 

The Coast hills along California make rough and 
barren work of the shore view ; but as we get down 
to Mexico, the hills open and become clothed with 
rich green. The weather, never cold, grows hot ; 
flannels come off; the fortunate in white linen blos- 
som out in spotless garb; the close and crowded 
state-rooms turn out their sleepers on to the cabin 
floors, the decks, everywhere and anywhere that a 
breath of air can be wooed ; babies lie around 
loosely and au naturel ; you have to pick your way 
at night about the open parts of the ship, as tender 
visitor to battle-field at Gettysburg. The languor 



374 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of the tropics comes over you all; perspiration 
stands in great drops, or flows in rivulets from the 
body ; a creamy, hazy feeling possesses the senses ; 
working is abandoned ; reading becomes an effort ; 
card-playing ceases to lure; dreaming, dozing and 
scandal-talking grow to be the occupations of the 
ship's company, — possibly scandal-making, for the 
courtesans become bold and flaunt, and the weak 
and impudent show that they are so. 

Half way down, at the end of first week, we stop 
at Acapulco, the chief Mexican port on the Pacific 
Coast, founded by Spain, and famous in the days 
of her prosperous American commerce. It lies 
beautifully, under the hills, back of an island, which 
forms exquisite and safe bay. Here we taste of 
tropical life on shore ; here we sample the Mexicans 
and Mexican Republic. It is a pitiful civilization 
that they present, and not very inspiring of sympa- 
thy or hope. The Mexican population is several 
thousands, and there are only two or three families 
of whites. The Mexicans are a mulattoish race, an 
apparent cross between Indians and negroes, with 
here and there a vein of Spanish blood. Indolence 
and incompetency mark their life and character. 
The principal local industry appears to be the sup- 
plying of the passengers on the steamships, that 
stop here, going either way, for coal and provisions, 
with fruits and fancy shell-work. The houses are 
low, adobe, and with thick walls, and whitewashed 
on the outside ; the streets no wider than a gener- 
ous city sidewalk ; the plaza or church square opens 
broad but barren, — and here is the market-place, 



THE EVENING AT ACAPULCO. 3/5 

where, from little stands or on the pavement, the 
simple wares and food and fruits and fancy shells 
of the people, are offered for sale by gross women, 
dreary old hags, or precocious girls ; and chaffering 
goes on day and evening with citizen and stranger. 
A few of us landed and spent the evening on shore ; 
and it was a weird scene that the market-place pre- 
sented under rude and scant torch-light. Occasion- 
ally we found a comely girl among the stands, with 
rounded arm and bright eye, and such usually got 
, the best bargains from our party. A trick of the 
trade is to make you a present of some petty article, 
even to force it upon you, with flattering manner 
and speech, — and then to expect gallant and munifi- 
cent return in coin. This is type of tropical trading 
the world over, and in all ages, I believe. Did not 
Abraham or other of the old prophets buy land for 
burial place for his kindred under such embarrass- 
ing circumstances ? Close and heavy was the even- 
ing's heat; and the people, not busy trading with 
the Yankees, laid around loose in hammocks, or on 
the floors of piazza, thinly raimented, stolid, indif- 
ferent and indolent. 

Mr. Colfax and some of his friends went to call 
on General Alvarez, the Mexican (Juarez) com- 
mander of all this region, and by the help of an 
interpreter had some talk with him. The general 
has reputation as one of the best men of his party ; 
he seemed substantial and sensible in mind ; and 
for his body was a big, burly negro. We met at 
his place a younger and livelier representative of 
the Mexicans, a member of the Liberal Congress, 



3/6 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

who spoke with zeal and intelligence of his country 
and its cause, and was disposed to upbraid Mr. Col- 
fax a trifle for not more heartily espousing their 
side against Maximilian, in his California speeches. 
Such men as these two inspire some interest and 
iaith in their country ; but the general effect of all 
we saw and learned at Acapulco was not very en- 
couraging. Without our aid, directly or indirectly, 
we were assured by American residents, there was 
little hope for the Mexican resistants to Maximil- 
ian's authority. The interference of the United 
States in some form or another was his fear and 
their faith, Acapulco itself alternates in posses- 
sion between the two parties. A French man-of- 
war comes into the harbor ; General Alvarez and 
his followers retreat into the back country ; and the 
Frenchmen possess a barren town. They go away, 
and the Mexican leaders come back. Either way, 
there is little difference in affairs ; there is no com- 
merce save such as the American steamships make, 
and this goes on uninterruptedly. Though Aca- 
pulco is the largest town in the west of Mexico, its 
chief Pacific port, there is not a single road out 
from it to the interior ; there is no ingress or egress 
save on foot or horseback ; no other means of com- 
munication between it and the capital. The town 
lias no wheeled vehicle of higher pretensions than 
a wheelbarrow. What can be done for a people 
who, with two hundred years and more of contact 
with civilization, can do no more for themselves ? It 
was season of religious festivity when we were there ; 
and a third distinguished personage we met at Al- 



TRADING WITH THE MEXICANS. 377 

varez's head-quarters was a fat old mulatto priest, 
who had come in from the interior to preside at the 
church ceremonies, and had brought along with him 
for Christian solace and refection, for himself and 
followers, a couple of hundred rare fighting cocks ! 

When we returned to the steamer, there was 
still a crowd of little boats along and under her 
sides, filled with Mexicans of all ages, sexes and 
conditions of raiment; with their stocks of fruits, 
cigars, eggs and shells; fitfully lit up with pine 
torches ; and engaged in noisy traffic with the pas- 
sengers on the decks far above. It was not possible 
for many of the passengers to go on shore, and the 
Mexicans were not allowed to come on to the ship ; 
so with mingled shoutings of English and Spanish, 
and by the help of baskets and long ropes, the ex- 
change of coin and commodities went on for hours. 
Oranges and bananas and limes were the principal 
fruits, and were alike fresh and cheap ; and large sup- 
plies were taken in by both passengers and the ship's 
steward. It was interesting and exciting interrup- 
tion to the monotony of the voyage to make this 
stop at Acapulco ; and to passengers coming down 
the Coast, it gives the first close observation of trop- 
ical life and vegetation. Here were the groves of 
palm, of banana, of cocoa-nut ; here, luxuriant in the 
open air, the broad leaves and rich colors of many 
plants that are seen in the temperate latitudes only 
in hot-houses ; here, fresh from trees, on the trees, 
were the delicious fruits that come to us at homo 
only after long voyages, and often stale and tasteless. 

On down the Coast again, by Mexico, out of 



3y8 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

sight, of course, but not out of thought of its 
mammoth volcano, Popocatapetl, the highest known 
mountain of North America, (seventeen thousand 
seven hundred and eighty-three feet) ; across the 
gulf of Tehuantepec ; by Guatemala ; by its wonder- 
ful and beautiful volcanic mountains, peaceful now, 
but exquisite in outline, perfect in cone-shapes, and 
risins: to thirteen thousand and fourteen thousand 
feet in hight ; by San Salvador ; amused with the 
lively little flying fishes that single or in shoals 
skipped from wave to wave, flashing in the sunlight, 
as dexterous boy skips bright stone over the water, 
and awed with tropical lightning that made the 
heavens all aglow with wide and frequent flashes; 
by Nicaragua, where the opposition line of steamers, 
as yet weak, stop, and their passengers cross to 
Atlantic waters ; then Costa Rica ; steering easterly 
all this while to keep the tapering Continent ; last 
New Granada; and on early morning at close of 
fortnight, rounding into the wide, warm bay of 
Panama, where the narrow neck of land, that con- 
nects and divides two seas and two Continents, 
confronts us. It is a charming scene, as we go by 
the richly-green islands of the bay, one with thriv- 
ing-looking town at its base, another holding sa- 
credly exclusive the sad burial-place for strangers 
and travelers, another the depot for the steamships, 
others undisputed with luxuriant and grasping na- 
ture, and anchor, amid all, in front of the quaint 
old city of Panama. The harbor itself is center for 
wide commerce North and South, gathering here to 
cross the Isthmus, and reach American and Euro- 



DEATH ON SHIPBOARD. 379 

pean centers ; but a bad bar forces the slow use of 
lighters for passengers and freight. 

We left the steamer one less than came upon it. 
There was a death among the steerage passengers, 
two days before reaching Panama; but the body 
w^s brought on, and lies now in the lonely strangers' 
cemetery out in the bay. Poor fellow! He was 
eager to go "home" to die. That hope buoyed him 
up, as it keeps alive a feeble, struggling lady in the 
cabin: but disease was too strong for even this 
tonic, — and now he Hes buried, afar from kindred, 
dependent upon strangers for the last offices, and 
bearing, painted on the simple board above his 
grave, these more sympathetic than coherent lines, 
the composition of one of the ship's guard : — 

Death chanced to roam o'er 
the ocean's breast, 
And spied a hapless wander- 

-er wanting rest, 
Who from the western land of 

gold returning 
To see his childhood's home 
was yearning. 
But unpitying death, with 
resistless stroke, 
The casket of his soul broke ope, 
And set forth to another home 
From whence again it ne'er 
will roam. 

We spent the day from early morning till late 
evening upon the Isthmus. By grace and gold, a 
few passengers were landed at once at Panama, 
which gave us several hours there for breakfast, for 
sight-seeing, for shopping, before the great crowd 



3*80 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of our company, the baggage and the fast freight 
could be transhipped, and the trains for their con- 
veyance over to Aspinwall be made ready. Panama 
we found to be only an improvement over Acapulco ; 
it mingled more modern quality with its as ancient 
features ; the streets were broader ; the houses of 
two stories ; and carts and rickety omnibuses, and 
a fine carriage or two, as well as retail stores by 
Jews or Yankees, and large warehouses under Eng- 
lish or American superintendence, showed the in- 
novations and elevations of commerce. There was 
a flavor of Spanish about everything, however ; the 
food, the churches, the stores, the town generally ; 
decayed, effete, luxuriant, tropical Spanish. The 
natives were a good deal mixed, wearing all the 
mulatto shades ; the women flaunting in narrow, 
sleazy white gowns, rich with wide negro ruffles and 
furbelows; and the children rollicking in single, 
short, wide chemises, or unblushing and bold with 
utter freedom of covering. The churches, ancient, 
cheap and moss-grown, won no veneration except 
for their antiquity ; they told of no interest in re- 
ligion ; of nothing but a tawdry, vulgar fanaticism ; 
a lazy, cock-fighting priesthood, and an indifferent 
parish. We found the bats flying about in the 
arches above and behind the altar, and priests and 
boys firing guns at them among the poor tinselry 
of the worship, with results more damaging to " bell, 
book and candle" than birds. The things to buy 
here at Panama are fine linen lawns for ladies' 
dresses ; they are delicate and pretty, and, Panama 
being a free port, cheap ; besides which they are 



THE RAILROAD OVER THE ISTHMUS. 38 1 

rarely to be had in New York, or other northern 
cities. Our passengers also found some bargains 
in other Unen goods and under clothing ; and their 
wardrobes were sensibly improved, without corres- 
ponding benefit to Uncle Samuel's customs revenue. 

At mid-day, the long and crowded passenger train 
started Across the Isthmus,— treasure and baggage 
waited for a second, — and we had that ever-memora- 
ble ride, in the experience of all who have ever 
made this trip, between the Continents, from ocean 
to ocean, in the very fullness of the tropics, over 
rails fairly built upon human bodies, so fatal was 
the miasma of the country to nearly all classes of 
imported laborers. The road is fifty miles long, 
and the run is made in two to three hours. Mo- 
nopolizing the commerce of all the Pacific Coast of 
both North and South America, the gateway for all 
travel from Continent to Continent, it is a rich pos- 
session to its owners. The fare for this two hours' 
ride is no less than twenty-five dollars, and freights 
are correspondingly high. The sleepers and ties 
of the track are of lignum-vitae wood, the telegraph 
posts of cement, as thus only are both protected 
from rot and insect. The road is well appointed in 
other respects, and the service unexceptionable. 

But the ride was rare revelation. All was sub- 
stantially new and strange to our unused northern 
eyes; and we stared and wondered and absorbed 
through all this tropical passage. The sun was not 
fierce ; one will suffer more from heat in a ride from 
Springfield to New York of a dry and dusty August 
day ; but the warmth was deep and high, — it lay in 



382 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

thick, heavy, sensuous folds in the air, — it did not 
fret, but it permeated and subdued and enriched. 
With Nature, it was season of rest, — colors were 
dulled from the spring and early summer hues, — 
but what quantity ! what ripeness and fullness, what 
luxuriant, wanton rioting! There was no limit to 
variety or aboundingness of tree and shrub, and 
plant and flower and grass. Waste and robbery, 
there could not be in such abundance ; the vacancy 
of to-day's ax or fire is filled to-morrow; only daily 
use of hatchet and scythe keeps open path. Palms 
everywhere, singly and in groves, with great rough 
fruit, rich in oil ; ferns as trees and in forests ; clus- 
ters of bananas as big as an honest two-bushel 
charcoal basket, yet hidden by the generous leaves 
of their tree; bread-fruit and cocoa-nuts ripening 
and rotting out of reach of man or beast ; tall oaks 
and short oaks ; little trees and big trees of every 
family, interlaced so closely that you could not tell 
where one begun and the other left oif ; vines, ten- 
der and strong, marrying everything to everybody, 
running up, and running down, and running around, 
dropping down lines straight and stiff like ropes, 
all through the woods, making swings everywhere, 
but permitting no place for their play ; great, coarse, 
flaming flower, and delicate, tender microscopic blos> 
som holding up its cup by roadside, between rails, 
on every hand ; occasionally bright plumage of gay 
bird fluttered across the vision among the thick 
foliage, and hid behind leaves so wide and long 
that we knew why Adam and Eve needed no tailor 
or mantua-maker, — one would suffice for all ordinary 



LIFE IN THE TROPICS. 383 

length of nakedness: — thus and more Hke it and 
continuously was our ride across the Isthmus. 

At frequent intervals along the road are well- 
built stations with handsome yards and gardens 
and American occupants. Adjoining, and at other 
points, we passed crowded negro hamlets and villa- 
ges ; their houses frequently thatched both on top 
and side with the generous leaves of the adjoining 
forests, and their food the easy-growing fruits and 
vegetables of the tropics. What work they will do 
the railroad probably furnishes. The mark of the 
white man is among them ; if dead, he yet liveth 
in the blood of the native ; but the habit of the 
negro is dominant. The climate and their rude 
wants invite a lazy, sensual life, and such is theirs. 
There is small expenditure for clothes ; boys and 
girls, even of full-growth, stroll freely about before 
the passing trains, and among their fellows, with 
not a rag of clothing to their bodies ; and the men, 
when they do work, strip as fully to the task. 

We pass by the thick and sinuous Chagres River, 
up and down which in flat-boats the early passen- 
gers by this route were pushed by the negro ; along 
whose banks in this slow and painful passage did 
many lie down to die ; and out of whose fetid breath 
came many a long-lurking and finally fatal fever. 
The passage is now made so quickly in the cars, 
that there is little danger at any season of taking 
the fever of the country. Exposure to the rain, or 
imprudence in eating, added to a system receptive 
of disease, are quite likely to bring it on ; but per- 
sons in ordinary health and taking reasonable care 



384 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of themselves need have no apprehensions. As a 
precaution, many travelers by this route take small 
doses of quinine for a day or two before reaching 
the Isthmus and a day or two after passing it. In 
this way the system is pretty surely toned up against 
the feverish tendencies of the passage. 

We came into Aspinwall, in the first rain storm 
that we had felt since rain and hail pelted us so 
mercilessly on the Plains near Fort Kearney, most 
four months ago, and found that a dreary new town of 
one street, lined with hotels and shops and Jamaica 
negroes and negresses. These people are proof 
against this climate ; they luxuriate and thrive from 
the start here, and it was due to their importation 
that the railroad was finally completed, as it was, 
after all other importations, white and black alike, had 
fallen in their tracks along its line of rotting nature, 
stirred to revengeful miasma by shovel and pick. 

Aspinwall has no past like Panama, no present 
and no future but what the railroad and steamships 
make for it. There was a political revolution and 
civil war in progress on the Isthmus as we came 
through ; but what it was all about, nobody could 
intelligently tell us; and we were not half so ex- 
cited by the fact as we should have been over the 
ebullition of a neighboring volcano, — the latter be- 
ing the more strange and interesting event here in 
Central America than the former. The town had 
little to interest us; plenty of tropical fruits and 
imported liquors; plenty of cheap stores, but no 
" bargains," and not a wanting watch crystal on the 
Isthmus ! So we were glad when the baggage was 



ON THE ATLANTIC SIDE. 38$ 

all on board our new steamer, and the gun sum- 
moned us to follow it to our places. 

The steamship service on the Atlantic side, be- 
tween Aspinwall and New York, has been very 
poor for years ; a disreputable monopoly, and greatly 
aggravating the perils and discomforts of the Cali- 
fornia voyage. But lately the management has 
been changed, and the service much improved ; and 
we were in the luck to connect with a new and ele- 
gant steamship, on her hrst voyage, and under com- 
mand of that Nestor of Isthmus-going sailors, Cap- 
tain Tinklepaugh. The discomfort of a crowd 
continued and increased, for the vessel was of less 
size than that of the Pacific side ; and we missed 
the shambles and the butcher's shop before getting 
through, for the meats for the round trip on this 
side, covering twenty days' time, are taken out of 
New York on the ice. But in all other respects 
the accommodations and service were beyond criti- 
cism ; and old travelers on the route reported the 
improvement from the sad past beyond description. 

Good fortune attended us, too, in the weather ; the 
September equinoctial was past due, but we escaped 
even the breath of it. The Caribbean Sea forgot 
its accustomed crispness and spared our stomachs 
and appetites. Threading our way through the 
West India Islands ; stopping at none, and catching 
glimpse of but few ; passing near but outside Cuba, 
and waving our hands to its eastern shores, we swept 
up on calm waters, under summer skies, into the 
broad Atlantic ; caught the Gulf Stream and crossed 
it; cherished our fears of a rough time "off Hat- 
17 25 



386 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

teras," and woke to pass the dreaded spot on the 
smoothest sea of all ; and, our steamer being fast 
and on her trial trip, and winds and seas favoring 
from first to last, we disposed of our two thousand 
miles, and swept into never more beautiful New 
York harbor on soft September morning, and up to 
the dock^ in just six days and a half from Aspinwall, 
this being the shortest trip ever made by any vessel. 

Though one day longer on the Pacific side than 
usual, the whole journey from San Francisco to 
New York was thus accomplished in twenty-one 
days. The whole distance is five thousand miles ; 
with fine weather and crowding the steamers up to 
their fullest power, it can be passed over in eighteen 
or nineteen days ; but the trip is ordinarily extended 
to twenty-two to twenty-four days. The tropical 
weather kept with us until within two days of New 
York, and indeed is the usual experience of two- 
thirds to three-fourths the voyage, on both Coasts, 
whatever the season. On this side no land is seen 
from leaving the Isthmus till Cuba, and none again till 
the Jersey shore is sighted as New York is neared. 

The whole line of this service, on both sides the 
Continent, has now passed into the hands of the 
Pacific Mail Steamship Company, heretofore con- 
trolling only the steamers on the Pacific Coast. 
This event is hailed with delight by all California 
travelers, old and new. The Pacific Company is 
the most notable triumph of our Am.erican steam 
marine, and is as popular as it has been successful. 
No passenger steamships in the world are larger or 
more elegant than theirs ; no service more satisfac- 



THE PACIFIC MAIL STEAMSHIP COMPANY. 387 

tory to the public. They have within a year put 
three new and mammoth vessels on the Pacific 
portion of the line, and new and larger and better 
steamers than have ever been employed on this side 
will be at once placed in the service to connect with 
them. A uniform excellence in accommodations 
will be maintained on both sets of steamers ; and for 
the first time in the history of California emigration 
and commerce, their facilities will be somewhat 
commensurate to their extent and importance, and 
the voyage will invite rather than deter the traveler. 
For the past few months, the tide of travel has 
been greater from than to California; the larger 
"O^rosperity of the East has invited home the unsuc- 
cessful there; but this is not likely to continue. 
The general flow must be the other way. And with 
these more agreeable facilities, and a widening curi- 
osity and interest in the region of the Pacific Coast, 
there will soon grow up a large pleasure travel from 
the Atlantic States to those of the Pacific. The 
public ctnd the Pacific Steamship Company are both 
fortunate in the new arrangement, and the pros- 
perity of the latter is likely to be still more conspic- 
uous. The owners and chief managers are in New 
York ; though all its heavy interests and property 
have been till now on the Pacific Coast ; and now it 
has added still further to its undertakings the pro- 
posed line of steamships between San Francisco 
and China. Larger and stauncher ships, if possible, 
will be built for this service, than are run on the 
Coast; the line is to commence with 1867; and the 
event will mark a new era in the commercial history 



388 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of the Pacific and the Republic. So fortunate has 
this steamship company been, though it lost one of 
its best vessels (the Golden Gate) three years ago 
by fire, that its three new ships on the Pacific Coast, 
costing a million of dollars each, were all built out 
of the profits of insuring its own property. Its 
steamers will henceforth run three times a month 
between California and New York, and the fares for 
passengers are established at three hundred and 
fifty dollars for first-class, two hundred and fifty dol- 
lars for second, and one hundred and twenty-five 
dollars for steerage. These rates seem high; but 
they include board and the passage across the Isth- 
mus, and are really but a little higher in proportion 
than the steamship rates to Europe, while the ex- 
penses in the latter service are much less. All the 
coal, for instance, used by the Pacific steamers, hsts 
to be carried way around Cape Horn from the East. 
No adequate source of supply has yet been devel- 
oped on the Pacific Coast. 

* The point where relief and improvement are most 
needed, it seems to me, on this great thoroughfare 
of continental travel, is in the over-crowding of the 
steamers. I know they must carry large numbers 
in order to support such fine vessels and such an 
expensive service ; but they surely do not need to 
carry more than can be comfortably accommodated 
with state-rooms and berths. There should be a 
limit set to the number going on each steamer, 
which for no reason should be exceeded. If three 
steamers a month will not accommodate the pas- 
sengers applying, then run four or five, — one a day, 



THE UNHEALTHY CROWD ON THE STEAMERS. 389 

if necessary. First-class passengers ought not to 
exceed three to a state-room ; that is a crowd ; more 
is indecent. If the Pacific Mail Steamship Com- 
pany would preserve their reputation and continue 
their substantial monopoly of this great traffic, they 
will have to make reform here, — to put no more 
passengers on their boats than they have comforta- 
ble accommodations for ; to have boats of uniform 
capacity on each side the Isthmus, and to insure to 
all who take tickets through just what they pay for. 
There is moral unhealth in this heterogeneous mix- 
ture of humanity that flows back and forth in such 
close communion from California, The strong and 
the true are only made wiser for the experience ; but 
the vain and the weak, the susceptible and unsettled 
are only and often contaminated. Everything that 
the Steamship Company and its officers can do to 
ameliorate these inevitable incidents of such democ- 
racy of company in such pent-up quarters ; to re- 
strain and punish the wicked ; to protect the weak ; 
to make the long and tedious voyage on shipboard 
comfortable and tasteful to all, seems to have been 
and to be done, except this of preventing an inde- 
cent over-crowding of state-rooms and saloons. 

— But the summer's journey is ended; and my 
garrulity over its experiences and observations must 
cease. It has been a rare experience ; a rare oppor- 
tunity, happily achieved by and for us all. We have 
gone together from ocean to ocean, across a Conti- 
nent up and down a Continent ; from longitude one 
degree to longitude thirty-four degrees ; from lati- 



390 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. ' 

tude fifty degrees to latitude seven degrees ; travel- 
ing in all some twelve thousand miles, half by sea, 
nearly a third by stage, and the balance by* railroad 
and river ; cros-sing the great mountain ranges of 
the Continent ; exploring the forests, the mines, the 
commerce of a new world; seen and learned the 
field of a new empire ; enjoyed the most generous of 
hospitality in every possible and imaginable form ; 
and are back in our homes in a trifle more than four 
months from the day of leaving them. All without 
the accident of a finger's scratch ; all without break- 
ing for a moment the harmony of our personal circle. 
We part here ; we lay off the robes- of honored guests, 
that were so unexpectedly laid upon us, and so richly 
endowed through all our long journey ; we return 
to our accustomed lives ; but we come back with 
fuller measure of the American Republic and larger 
faith in its destiny. For myself, this summer bears 
greatest increase for my knowledge and my life ; it 
will be perpetual pleasure to have had it ; it will be 
great glory to have contributed in any degree by 
these letters to a knowledge by the American People 
of the real breadth and capacity, the necessities and 
the possibilities of the American Nation, 




Supplementary Papers, 



I. 

THE MORMONS. 



THEIR PRESENT ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE GOV- 
ERNMENT. 

Since our visit to Utah in June, the leaders among the Mormons 
have repudiated their professions of loyalty to the government, de- 
nied any disposition to yield the issue of Polygamy, and begun to 
preach anew, and more vigorously than ever, disrespect and defiance 
to the authority of the national government. They seem to be dis- 
appointed and irate that their personal attentions and assurances to 
Mr. Colfax and his friends did not win from them more tolerance 
of their peculiar institution, and something like espousal of their 
desire for admission as a State of the Union. New means are 
taken to organize and drill the militia of the Territory, and to pro- 
vide them with arms, under the auspices and authority of the Mor- 
mon church ; and an open conflict with the representatives of the 
government is apparently braved, even threatened. I make these 
illustrative quotations from speeches and sermons by prominent 
church leaders during August and September : — 

From Heber Kimball, first Vice-President of the Church. 

The next army that comes here, I want you women to meet, — all 
armed with brooms and pop-squirts and hot water, to squirt hot water 
all over 'em. We had a good time with the last army that came 
here, and I guess we'll have it with the next one ! Greet them, 
sisters, with a shower of suds ; with even the half of a scissors 
about eighteen inches long. And you, brethren, grease your old 
firelocks. And you, sisters, grease your old firelocks, too. Arm 



392 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

even with cornstalks, everybody. In the " States " they do it be- 
tween the ages of eighteen and forty-five. Out hyere, I suppose we 
might do so between the ages of ten and one hundred and eighty. 
Broomsticks and mop-handles, brethren, and pails of hot water, my 
dear sisters, if you can't do any more. If a dozen of our women 
were in the South, the time of that war, with pails of hot water, 
they could have licked the northern army. 

We believe what Christ taught, — the commandments he gave. 
He said : " Thou shalt not interfere with thy neighbor's wife, nor 
his daughter, his house, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant." 
Christ said this ; but our enemies don't believe it. That was the 
trouble between the North and the South. The abolitionists of the 
North stole the niggers and caused it all. The nigger was well off 
and happy. How do you know this. Brother Heber ? Why, God 
bless your soul, I used to live in the South, and I know! Now 
they have set the nigger free ; and a beautiful thing they have done 
for him, haven't they ? I am what you might call a son of the vet- 
erans. My father bled in the revolution for our liberties. I, his 
son, have been five times robbed and driven out by Gentile perse- 
cutors, — I and my brothers Charles and Samuel. They threaten to 
come here and destroy us. Let them come. I am the boy that 
will resist them. 

From George A. Smithy another Vice-President. 
He >aid the Lincoln administration did not want peace with the 
South, but wanted to destroy and devastate all the good southern 
people, and, that in order to do so, the party in power had laid aside 
the Constitution entirely, and were the main ones who rebelled, and 
the South was right. He said the northern army burned and de- 
stroyed everything in the South, and abused, by force, all their wo- 
men, and said they would be here some day to treat the fair zvofnen 
of Utah in like manner, and that all, both old and young, should 
have plenty of arms, and when they approached, God would fight 
the battles and the Saints would be victorious ! He said our gov- 
ernment was not at peace ; and he damned it and hoped to see the 
day when it would sink to hell ; that nothing in the shape of a free 
government could ever stand on North American soil that was op- 
posed to Mormonism and polygamy ! 

From Brigham Youngs himself. 
He said if they undertook to try him in a Gentile court, he would 
see the government in hell first, and was ready to fight t^e govern- 
ment the rub. That he had his soldiers and rifles and pistols and 
ammunition and plenty of it, and cannon too, and would use them. 
He was on it ! The governor of this Territory was useless and 
could do nothing. He (Brigham) was the real governor of this peo- 
ple, and by powers of the Most High he would be governor of this 
Territory forever and ever, and if the Gentiles did not like this, they 
could leave and go to hell ! He said that nine-tenths of the people 
of the Territory were southern sympathizers ; that the North was 
wrong, and this people sympathized with the South. 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: THE MORMONS. 393 

Much of this demonstration is probably mere bravado ; means to 
arouse the igiiorant people, excite them against the government, 
make them still more the fanatical followers of the church leaders, 
and also to intimidate the public authorities, and induce them to 
continue the same let-alone and indulgent policy that has been the 
rule at Washington for so long. The government always seems to 
have demonstrated just enough against the Mormons to irritate 
them and keep them compact and prepared to resist it, but never 
enough to make them really afraid, or to force them into any sub- 
missive steps. The bristling attitude of the saints has ever had 
the apparent effect to qualify the government purpose, and make 
it stop short in its proceeding to enforce the laws and national au- 
thority. It is no wonder, therefore, that they repeat their frantic 
and fanatic appeals to their people, and their defiance to the govern- 
ment, and grow more and more bold in them. They find that it 
works better than professions of loyalty and half-way offers of sub- 
mission, one bad effect of which, for their own cause, is of course 
to demoralize their followers, and weaken their own authority over 
them. 

There is no evidence yet of any change in the policy of the execu- 
tive authorities at Washington. While the new federal Governor 
of the Territory, Mr. Durkee from Wisconsin, the federal judges, 
and the Superintendent of Indian Affairs are both anti-Mormons and 
anti-polygamists, all or nearly all the other federal officers in the 
Territory are both leading Mormons and practical polygamists, — 
the postmasters, collectors of internal revenue, etc. The postmas- 
ter of Salt Lake City is one of Brigham Young's creatures, and 
editor of the Mormon daily paper there. The returns of internal 
revenue in the Territory are found to be, proportionately to similar 
populations and wealth, quite small ; and there are reasons to be- 
lieve that the taxes are not faithfully assessed and collected. Gen- 
eral Connor, who has been returned to his old place, as military 
commander of the district of Utah alone, is assigned a force of only 
one thousand soldiers ; though he asked for and expected to have 
five thousand. The lesser number, remote from all possible rein- 
forcement, is entirely inadequate to support the Governor and judges 
in any exercise of authority that they may dare to undertake, and 
that the Mormons may chose to resist. One thousand soldiers could 
very readily be "wiped out," — which is a favorite phrase of the 
saints towards their enemies, — by a sudden uprising of the fanatical 
followers of Brigham Young and his apostles. 
17* 



394 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Excuse for such uprising is in much danger of being developed 
from the growing strength and impatience of the anti-Mormon ele- 
ments in society at Salt Lake City, and the reckless, desperate 
character of some of those elements. Miners from Idaho and Mon- 
tana have come into that city to winter, to spend their profits, if suc- 
cessful, or to pick up a precarious living, if unlucky. Many dis- 
charged soldiers also remain there or in the neighboring districts. 
The growing travel and commerce across the Continent floats in 
other persons, "good, bad and indifferent" as to habits and self- 
control. Other accessions to the " Gentile " strength and agitation 
are constantly being made. The merchants of that class are in- 
creasing and becoming prosperous ; those who have been silent and 
submissive under the Mormon hierarchy, dare now to demonstrate 
their real feelings? under the protection of sympathy and soldiers ; 
the "Daily Union Vedette" continues to be published. as organ of 
the soldiers and other "Gentiles," and is bold and unsparing and 
constant in its denunciations of the Mormon church and its influ- 
ences ; Rev. Norman MacLeod, chaplain of the soldiers, and pastor 
of the Congregational society in Salt Lake City, has returned from 
a summer's trip to Nevada and California, with funds for building a 
meeting-house, and increased zeal against the Mormons; a "Gen- 
tile " theater has been established ; various social organizations, in 
the same interest, are increasing, and growing influential over the 
young people ; General Connor himself, his fellow-officers and sol- 
diers are all bitter in their hatred of the Mormons, and eager for 
opportunities to subdue them to the governmental authority ; Gov- 
ernor Durkee seems less disposed to be tolerant of the Mormon 
control and the Mormon disrespect to federal authority, than his 
predecessors generally have been ; and the judges, goaded, like all 
the rest of the "Gentiles," by Mormon insults and Mormon defiance, 
and their own incapacity, under government neglect, to perform their 
duties, more than share the common feeling of antagonism to the 
church leaders. 

Thus the two parties are growing more and more antagonistic, 
more and more into a spirit of conflict. Thus, too, while are rap- 
idly aggregating and operating the means by which the Mormon 
problem is ere long to be solved, even without the special help 
or interference of the government, are also coming into life the 
elements and the danger of a more serious and personal collision, 
in which the Mormons, from their numerical superiority, would 
most probably be successful, and, quite likely, wreak terrible ven- 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: THE MORMONS. 395 

geance on their enemies. Of course, such a result would evoke full 
retribution on their own heads ; for then people and government 
would arouse, and enforce speedy and complete subjugation. 

But these threatened and dreaded results ought to be and can be 
avoided. The government has now the opportunity to guide and 
control the operation of natural causes to the overthrow of po- 
lygamy and the submission of the Mormon aristocracy, without the 
shedding of blood, without the loss of a valuable population and 
their industries. The steps to this are, first, a sufficient military 
force in the Territory " to keep the peace ; " to protect freedom of 
speech, of the press, and of religious proselytism ; to forbid any per- 
sonal outrages on the rights ot the Mormons ; and to prevent any 
revenges by them upon the " Gentiles." And next, the supplanting 
of all polygamists in federal offices by men not connected with that 
distinctive sin and offense of the church. These steps, wisely taken, 
firmly administered, would rapidly give the growing anti-polyga- 
mous elements such moral power, as would ensure speedy and 
bloodless revolution. It may not be wise or necessary, at least at 
present, in view of past indulgence, to undertake to enforce the fed- 
eral law against polygamy ; that may be held in abeyance until the 
effect of such proceedings as have been indicated is fully developed. 
In short, I would change the government policy from the "do- 
nothing " to the " make-haste-slowly " character ; I would have its 
influence decidedly and continuously felt in the Territory against the 
crime of polygamy. 

Neglecting to do this, there is danger of anarchy and deadly con- 
flict springing up on that arena ; there is also sure prospect that the 
people of the country at large will, in their impatience and disgust, 
force upon Congress such radical measures against the Mormons, as 
are, in regard to our past neglect and the present opportunity of 
peaceful revolution, to be almost as deeply deprecated. In either 
event, the responsibility will rest heavily and sharply upon the 
President and his Cabinet, who are permitting the affairs of the 
Territory to drift on in the present loose and dangerous way, either 
ignorant of, or indifferent to, the rapidly developing social conflict 
there. 



DEFENSE OF POLYGAMY. 
t 

My readers may be interested to know the reply of the Mormons 

to my letters on the subject of Polygamy. The Deseret News, the 



39^ 



ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 



official organ of the church, had such a reply in August, from which 
I quote : — 

" As a people we view every revelation from the Lord as sacred. 
Polygamy was none of our seeking. It came to us from Heaven, 
and we recognized in it, and still do, the voice of Him whose right 
it is not only to teach us but to dictate and teach all men, for in 
His hand is the breath of the nostrils, the life and existence of the 
proudest, most exalted, most learned or puissant of the children of 
men. It is extremely difficult, nay utterly impossible, for those who 
have not been blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost, to enter into 
our feelings, thoughts and faith in these matters. They talk of rev- 
elation given, and of receiving counter revelation to forbid what has 
been commanded, as if man was the sole author, originator and de- 
signer of them. Granted that they do not believe the revelations 
we have received come from God. Granted that they do not believe 
in God at all, if they so desire it. Do they wish to brand a whole 
people with the foul stigma of hypocrisy, who, from their leaders to 
the last converts that have made the dreary journey to these moun- 
tain wilds for their faith, have proved their honesty of purpose and 
deep sincerity of faith by the most sublime sacrifices ? Either that 
is the issue of their reasoning, or they imagine that we serve and 
worship the most accommodating Deity ever dreamed of in the 
wildest vagaries of the most savage polytheist. Either they imagine 
that we believe man concocts and devises the revelations which we 
receive, or that we serve a God who will oblige us at any time by 
giving us revelations to suit our changing fancies, or the dictation 
of men who have declared the canon of revelation full, sealed up 
the heavens as brass, and utterly repudiate the interference of the 
Almighty in the affairs of men. By the first of these suppositions 
we would be gross hypocrites ; by the other grosser idiots. 

" Know, gentlemen of the press and all whom it may concern, 
that though a repugnance to this doctrine may be expressed by one 
in a thousand of the people whom you call ' Mormons,' he is not 
one, nor recognized as such by that religious community of which 
he may be called a member. If one revelation is untrue, all are 
untrue ; if one was revealed by God, all have their origin in the 
same Divine source.'' 

The News goes on io declaim that greater purity, better morals 
accompany Polygamy than Monogamy, and adds : — 

" As well might It be said that the affection of the parent must be 
confined to one child, and that the affection of a united family could 
not reciprocate that of the parent, or jealousy would creep in, bit- 
terness of thought be engendered and the finer feelings and suscep- 
tibilities be blunted, .is that one man cannot entertain for and ex- 
tend affection to more than one woman, or that his affection could 
not be eciprocated by more than one without the same resuks being 
called ■ :ito existence. 

"Tiie presumed misery consequent upon polygamy is advanced 



SUrrLEMENTARY PAPERS: THE MORMONS. 39/ 

as one of the strongest arguments against it. Upon what is it 
Ijased ? Sonic person met and conversed with some other person 
who did noi enjoy that amount of happiness in polygamy, which 
they desired to realize. Who does in any condition of life? How 
many nionogamic wives curse the hour they ever entered the bonds 
ci wedlock i* There is no argun^nt in it, nor can an argument be 
logically based upon it. It is a statement, and can be met by a 
counter statement which the experience of this united people can 
indorse, they having had a practical acquaintance with, and an ex- 
perience in, the. workings of both forms of marriage. Take fifty 
polygamic families indiscriminately from this community, and the 
same number in the same manner from any other community in the 
world, and there will be found more conjugal unhappiness in the 
latter than exists in the former." 

The Mormons point lustily to the incontinence and license that 
exist in society, where one man to one wife is the rule, as practical 
argument in favor of their system. It is their final and favorite ap- 
peal, and always very satisfactory — to themselves. They hold that 
there is more real purity and order, in the intercourse of the sexes, 
in society based upon Polygamy, than in that where Monogamy is 
the law, and license the practice. 



A SPECIMEN OF MORMON PREACHING. 

This extract from a late Sunday discourse in the Salt Lake City 
Tabernacle by Heber C. Kimball, the first Vice-President and chief 
prophet of the church, is a fair specimen of a good deal of the 
preaching of the Mormon bishops. I have reports of other ser- 
mons by Brigham Young himself and others, so absolutely filthy in 
language, that they cannot be reproduced in print anywhere : — 

"Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I am going to talk to 
you by revelation. I never study my sermons, and when I get up 
to speak, I never know what I am going to say only as it is revealed 
to me from on high ; then all I say is true ; could it help but be so, 
when God communicates to you through me ? The Gentiles are 
our enemies ; they are damned fo^-ever ; they are thieves and mur- 
derers, and if they don't like what I say they can go to hell, damn 
them ! They want to come here in large numbers and decoy our 
women. I have introduced some Gentiles to my wives, but I will 
not do it again, because, if I do, I will have to take them to my 
houses and introduce them to Mrs. Kimball at one house, and to 
Mrs. Kimball at another house, and so on ; and they will say Mrs. 

Kimball such, and Mrs. Kimball such, and so on, are w . They 

are taking some of our fairest daughters from us now in Salt Lake 
City, damn them. If I catch any of them running after my wives 



39^ ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

I will send them to hell ! and ladies you inust not keep their com- 
pany, you sin if you do, and you will be damned and go to hell. 
What do you think of such people ? They hunt after our fairest and 
prettiest women, and it is a lamentable fact that they would rather 
go with them damned scoundrels than Stay with us. If Brother 
Brigham comes to me, and says he wants one of my daughters, he 
has a right to take her, and I have the exclusive rigjht to give her 
to who I please, and she has no right to refuse ; it she does, she 
will be damned forever and ever, because she belongs to me. She 
is part of my flesh, and no one has a right to take her' unless I say 
so, any more than he has a right to take one of my horses or cows. 

'* All the federal Governor has to do is to pay the legislature and 
administer justice. Are the Governors our masters ? No, sir ; not 
for me ; they are our servants. We have our apostolic govern- 
ment. Brigham Young is our leader, our President, our Governor. 
I am Lieutenant-Governor. Aint I a terrible feller? Why, it has 
taken the hair all off my head. At least it would, if I hadn't lost 
it before. J lost it in my hardships, while going out to preach the 
kingdom of God, without purse or scrip. 

" [To the Gentiles.] Oh, don't be scart at me ! Come up to my 
house and see me. I will give you some peaches, and make you 
happy. I have two sons abroad preaching the kingdom of God. 
Brother Byrd says they are good boys. It makes me proud to hear 
it. I want the time to come when I can send out fifty sons to 
preach, all at one lick. Come up and see me. I will give you 
some peaches. I will give you some apples. I would give you 
some meat if I had it, but I am about out." 



THE EMIGRATION OF 1865. 
The Mormons boast of one thousand emigrants from Europe this 
season, proselyted and shipped by their missionaries abroad. Most 
of them are English and Norwegians, simple, ignorant people, be- 
yond any class known in American society, and so easy victims to 
the shrewd and sharp and fanatical Yankee leaders in the Mormon 
church. Education, common schools are among the first of reforma- 
tory means needed in Utah. 



II. 
MINES AND MINING. 



THE MINES IN MONTANA. 

Mr. Albert D. Richardson of our s-ummer party, who remained 
behind to visit Montana and Idaho, writes from Virginia City, Mon- 
tana, October 28th, as follows : — 

** Montana is very promising, — richer, I think, than any of our 
other gold or silver States or Territories. The placer diggings are 
paying largely, and the quartz seems to me 'richer than anything else 
I have seen ; and a good many mills are coming in. But there are 
lots of Montana people in New York to sell leads, many of whom 
ought to be sent to the penitentiary for obtaining money under false 
pretenses. -"Beware of Wild-Cat' should be written over every arti- 
cle published on quartz-mining, in letters so large that he who runs 
may read, and the wayfaring man, though a fool, may not invest 
therein." 

From other sources are gathered the following facts : Alder Gulch 
is the theater of the original and most extensive gold-mining in 
Montana. Virginia City is the first and largest town here. About 
thirty millions of gold have been taken in the various diggings of 
the gulch ; and the quartz mines at its head among the hills are now 
very popular and promising. The present population of the Alder 
Gulch region is about fourteen thousand. About one hundred and 
forty miles north and east, more immediately among the Rocky 
Mountains, is the second center of development and population; 
and Helena is its chief town, with about five thousand inhabitants. 
Neighboring valleys and gulches are also rich in gold and silver, 
both washings and quartz. Many millions of treasure have already 
been obtained from this section of the Territory. And the country 
is described as very picturesque and beautiful. It is watered by the 
head streams of the Missouri River, — the Jefferson and Gallatin 
Rivers, and their tributaries, — and Fort Benton, the head of naviga- 



400 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

tion on the Missouri, is but one hundred and seventy-five miles east 
from Helena. 

The maps give but inadequate idea of the divisions of Idaho and 
Montana, and their chief districts of gold and population. Mon- 
tana lies along upon the Rocky Mountains, above Colorado and 
Utah, mostly on the western slopes, but still going over into the 
eastern valleys, whose waters feed the Missouri River, and find their 
way to the Atlantic Ocean. Idaho lies beyond Montana to the 
•^est, among the Blue Mountains, and the upper waters of the Co- 
lumbia River, or its Snake River branch. The population of each 
Territory is fickle ; it has probably been from twenty thousand to 
twenty-five thousand each, during the past summer ; but in the win- 
ter these figures will be reduced one-third to one-half. 



THE UNCERTAINTIES OF MINING. 

From a Lecture in San Francisco by Professor J. D. Whitney of 
the State Geological Survey of Califor7xia. 

It is a fact, that extremely few metalliferous veins are equally 
rich for any considerable distance, either lengthwise or up and 
down ; the valuable portions of the ore are concentrated in masses 
which are frequently very limited in extent, compared with the mass 
of the vein, in which they are contained. 

It is a fact, that indications of valuable ores on the surface do not 
always, nor once in a hundred times, lead to masses of ore beneath 
the surface of a sufficient extent and purity to be worked with profit. 
There are, literally and truly, thousands of places in New England 
where ores of the metals, including silver, copper, tin, lead, zinc, 
cobalt and nickel, have been observed ; many of these have given 
rise to mining excitements, and have been taken up, worked for a 
time, abandoned, taken up again, abandoned again, off and on for 
the last fifty or even a hundred years, and always with partial, and 
usually with a total, loss of the money invested. There may be one 
solitary mine in Vermont which is paying a small profit to the share- 
holders ; but with the exception of this, and a few mines of iron ore 
on the border of Massachusetts and Connecticut, there is not one 
which has not cruelly burned the fingers of those who have meddled 
with them. 

Even on Lake Superior, that region which is commonly appealed 
to as made up of solid copper, there have been many hundreds of 
companies formed, and at least a hundred mines opened and worked 
more or less extensively ; but for ten years after mining had begun 
to be actively carried on there, only two of the mines had paid back 
to the stockholders one cent of dividend. Even in England, it is 
the opinion of Mr. Hunt, the Keeper of Mining Records, who has 
devoted many years to the investigation of the statistics of this 



SUPPLEMENTARY papers: MINES, ETC. 4OI 

branch of the Nation's wealth, that mining for the metallic min- 
erals, with the exception of iron, is not on the whole remunerative. 
There is a \vonderful fascination about the mining business, which 
seems to blind the eyes and bewilder the senses of 'hose who come 
within the sphere of its influence. The organ of hope seems to 
swell up and predominate over all the others :■ — what phantasma- 
goria will aen not follow, if there is any metallic luster about it ! 

If the California capital, which has been wasted in foolish mining 
enterprises in this State and on its borders during the past three 
years, would, as I fully believe, have paid for a railroad to Washoe ; 
then California is the poorer by a railroad to Washoe, with double 
track and rolling stock complete, than it would have been, had 
not recklessness and ignorance diverted capital from this great 
enterprise. 



THE MINING LAWS AND THEIR OPERATION. 

From the Letters of Mr. Charles Allen, Lawyer, of Boston. 

The method of establishing mining laws strikes one who is ac- 
customed to the settled usages of older countries as very peculiar. 
At the outset the miners of a particular region get together, of their 
own motion, fix the limits and name of their district, and establish 
a series of rules, which may be altered in methods therein pre- 
scribed, for the location, holding and working of mines. The fun- 
damental idea which runs through all of these rules is, that he who 
finds a mine shall have the right to locate upon the iedge a certain 
number of feet in his own name, after which other locations may be 
made by anybody. In practice the discoverer usually locates a 
number of claims in the names of his friends. The validity of 
these locations depends upon doing upon the ledge a certain amount 
of work within a certain time. Provisions are also mserted which 
are designed to meet such contingencies as can be foreseen ; but, 
although the general principles are in accordance with just views 
of what is right, it is of course impossible to provide for every con- 
dition of things ; and, besides, the rules themselves are expressed 
in language not always clear. An immense amount of litigation is 
sure ultimately to ensue, and there is no place in the world, I sup- 
pose, where the lawyers' fees, absolute or contingent, are so large 
as in mining regions. Questions of fact constantly arise, whether 
enough work has been done to hold a claim, and whether two veins 
which appear on the surface to be different do or do not in fact ulti- 
mately run into each other. If they do come together, the oldest 
location prevails. 

It is well understood that there is a government title, which, if 
ultimately insisted on, is beneath all titles to mining^Droperty. But 
it is so plain, both as a matter of justice and policy, that this title 
will never be insisted on, that I do not regard it of essential impor- 
tance in considering the practical question of investing money in 
mines. This question is not very well understood yet at the East, 
or even in Congress. But the leading considerations are so just 

26 



402 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

that they will be understood before final action is taken. The 
miners' rules have been recognized in State courts as valkl and 
having the force of law ; and, after a vigorous contest in Congress, 
a law was finally passed at the last session, which provided that 
"no possessory action between individuals, in any of the courts 
of the United States, for the recovery of any mining title, or for 
damages to such title, shall be affected by the fact that the para- 
mount title to the land on which such mines are is in the United 
States, but each case shall be adjudged by the law of possession." 
It should be added that the miners' rights are superior to all other 
rights of property except the government title. The survey, loca- 
tion and ownership of a piece of land as real estate gives no right, 
tinder the miners' laws, to the minerals which it contains. 



HOW THE METAL IS EXTRACTED FROM THE 
REESE RIVER QUARTZ. 

From Mr. Charles Allen's Letters from Nevada. 

After the quartz has been extracted from the mine, it is taken to 
the mill, broken into pieces of from half a pound to two pounds in 
weight, thoroughly dried by the application of heat, and then 
crushed to powder in the mill. Various machines are advertised 
for crushing quartz, which their inventors and proprietors say will 
accomplish great results, but none of them are yet in practice and 
successful use at Reese River, or anywhere else that I know of. 
The process universally resorted to in Nevada is the old stamp 
mill. This process is simply the dropping of heavy weights upon 
the quartz, which s placed in dies prepared to receive it. Five 
stamps are usually arrayed side by side, weighing from five hundred 
to seven hundred pounds each. They are raised a distance of from 
eight to ten inches, and dropped from sixty to eighty-five times a 
minute. A wire sieve is placed upon each side of the dies, through 
which the powdered quartz escapes into a receiver, from which it is 
taken to a furnace, where it is subject to the action of a stream of 
flame from five to eight hours, during which time it is constantly 
stirred. As this flame carries off some silver bodily, it is made to 
pass through a long chamber, and exposed to cooler air before 
reaching the chimney, so that the silver can be saved. After being 
roasted, the pulverized quartz is ready for amalgamation. At the 
Midas Mill, which is considered to be the best mill at Reese River, 
the amalgamation is done by the Freiburg barrels, into which loose 
and irregular pieces of iron are placed for the purpose of mixing 
the quicksilvej with the pulp, (as the pulverized quartz is called,) 
and which are then revolved over and over. In other mills, the 
pulp is put into tubs, and stirred in water for nearly an hour, and 
then the quicksilver is applied, and the mass is stirred by means of 
iron flanges for three hours. About seventy-five pounds of quick- 
silver are allowed for one thousand pounds of pulp. After this, the 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS : MINES, ETC. 403 

water is drawn off, and a process like the distillation of cider brandy 
is resorted to for the purpose of saving the quicksilver, and the 
amalgam, composed of silver and quicksilver, is squeezed, to get 
out the quicksilver, after which it is put into the retort, and upon 
being subjected to heat more quicksilver passes off in fumes, and 
is saved, and the crude bullion which is left is ready to be taken to 
the assay office. This is substantially the process used at Reese 
River, where dry crushing is necessary, on account of the presence 
of the baser metals. In Virginia and its vicinity, where the ore is 
of a different character, and far less rich, it is crushed wet, and not 
roasted, and the expense is much less. 



EASTERN INVESTMENT IN REESE RIVER MINES. 

From the Letters of Mr. Allen of Boston. 

Boston has already invested a million of dollars in the Reese 
River mines. Will these investments pay } In reply to this ques- 
tion, it may be said in general terms that those who expect to get 
back their money speedily will be disappointed, and that a large 
share and perhaps the bulk of them will probably never get back 
their money at all. I have made some inquiry with a view to ascer- 
tain how many out of the seven thousand mines within this (Austin) 
the richest district have already paid their actual working expenses ; 
and my conclusion is, that this is true of not over thirty. Of course, 
this is not a fair test for so new a country. Good mines do not 
ordinarily pay until the water level is reached ; and much work 
must be done before that. Many good mines here have been so far 
worked that they are now apparently on the point of paying a profit. 
Besides, some very rich mines have been badly managed. The 
above fact, therefore, is not mentioned as affording a fair test for 
the future. Still it is worthy of the attention of those who consider 
a silver mine as sure to bring immediate profits. 

It is perfectly surprising to observe the recklessness with which 
investments in silver-mining property have been made at the East. 
Prudent, sagacious, and experienced persons, who would not pay 
ten thousand dollars for a country house, or five hundred dollars for 
a horse, without careful consideration and examination, appropriate 
much larger sums to the purchase of mining interests, merely upon 
the representations of the sellers. This has been done, and will be 
again. Of course, when capitalists are so ready to part with their 
money, swindling transactions will be frequent. Some purchasers 
that I have heard of will never be able to find their property at all. 
Others have paid very large sums for what could be purchased here 
for very small sums. A leading citizen of this place remarked to 
me, "I do not see why eastern gentlemen who have surplus funds 
will invest them in our mines, while there are faro banks at home." 
This is an extravagance ; but it is, after all, not altogether inappli- 
cable to those who undertake to realize profits here, without taking 
the ordinary business precautions. 



404 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 



GENERAL ROSECRANS ON THE MINES OF NEVADA. 

General Rosecrans, who has spent much time this summer in 
the Reese River country of Nevada, as the representative of a Boston 
mining company, offers the following conclusions as the result of his 
observations : — 

1. The number of lodes of silver ore is almost unlimited in Ne- 
vada, and no part of the State shows more lodes or richer ores than 
Reese River. 

2. Therefore many of great richness of ore must remain utterly 
without value, present or prospective, for years to come ; hence, not 
every " large " lode, however promising the ore, should be purchased, 

3. No reduction works should be erected upon a single lode, how- 
ever promising, lest the at least temporary failure of an adequate 
supply of ore should entail losses upon the company. 

4. Only those mines which have several lodes in such proximity 
to each other as to be easily and economically worked by the same 
superintendent, and with a single set of machinery for pumping 
water and hoisting the ore, are likely to be truly successful. 

5. This is the more important in this country, where the whole 
surface of the country is a net-work of small rich lodes, running 
parallel to and crossing each other in every direction, and often only 
a few feet apart, because these spurs and cross-cuts add to a com- 
pany's chances of increased profit and success, and give it moreover 
all the benefit of its own draining, shafting, tunnelling and ventilation. 

6. Whoever buys single mines, — mines far apart, or high in the 
hills and of difficult access, — must expect to lose money by them, or 
to hold them as "permanent investments." , 

7. It ought to be known by the public that much of the mining is 
at pl'esent speculative, and most of the money that is made off un- 
fortunate purchasers of mines, at high prices, goes into the hands 
of "middle men," who are quite willing to profit by the losses of 
both capitalists and miners. 

Such is the feverish eagerness of the poor locaters and proprie- 
tors, that they hasten to give deeds in fee to some adventuring 
speculator, who starts for the East to sell their mines for all they 
can get, regardless of what becomes of the mine or the purchaser. 

But on the question of the really almost nnlirnited quantity of the 
precious metal in Nevada, and of the existence of the necessary 
salt, water, fuel and other necessaries for their mining and reduction 
in such a way as to amply remunerate well-directed capital, I enter- 
tain no doubt, nor do I think anjr other attentive observer would. 
Really all that Bishop Simpson said about the quantity of silver in 
this State, fanciful as it may appear to those who have not been 
here, is no exaggeration. 



III. 
MP COLFAX'S SPEECHES. 



This record of the remarkable Summer's Journey Across the 
Continent would be incomplete, without some portion, at least, of 
the many and valuable public speeches on the route, by Mr. Col- 
fax, whose high public position and wide personal popularity made 
the trip so conspicuous, and gave all its participants such rare ad- 
vantages. These speeches are but generally described in the Let- 
ters ; and the extracts that follow, — only too limited by the confines 
of the volume, — relate almost solely to special themes connected 
with the development and civilization of the Mountain and Pacific 
States : — 

MR. LINCOLN'S MESSAGE TO THE MINERS. | 

From Mr. Colfax's Speech at Central City, Colorado, May 27, 

He had come in part to bring a message from our late President, — 
that noble man, so pure, so patriotic, so forgiving, the most lovable 
of all men, whose tender heart bore no ill-will, who never answered 
railing with railing ; on the very night he was seeking to soften the 
fate of the fallen enemies of the country, struck down by the as- 
sassin. The crime towered in its infamy, but its purpose was not 
accomplished. It was intended to weaken the Nation, but it made 
the Nation stronger. It had placed Abraham Lincoln on the very 
pinnacle of fame. He did not die because he was Abraham Lin- 
coln, but because he represented the Nation's contest with and vic- 
tory over treason. We might engrave his name on marble, — it 
would crumble; we might inscribe it on Mt. Blanc, where that liv- ^^ 
ing wall four thousand feet in hight overlaid a portion of the moun- ' 
tain eleven thousand feet high, — that granite spire would moulder 
in fragments round the base of its pedestal before the name and 
memory of Abraham Lincoln would be forgotten. 

Said Mr. Lincoln to me, when I called the day before his death, 
to sny good-bye : — "Mr. Colfax, I want you to take a message from 
me to the miners whom you visit. I have (said he) very large ideas 
of the mineral wealth of our Nation. I believe it practically inex- 
haustible. It abounds al' o^er the western countrv, from the Rocky 



406 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Mountains the Pacific, and its development has scarcely com- 
menced. During the war, when we were adding a couple of mil- 
lions of dollars every day to our national debt, I did not care about 
encouraging the increase in the volume of our precious metals. 
We had the country to save first. But now that the rebellion is 
overthrown and we know pretty nearly the amount of our national 
debt, the more gold and silver we mine, makes the payment of that 
debt so much the easier. Now, (said he, speaking with much em- 
phasis,) i am going to encourage that in every possible way. We 
shall have hundreds of thousands of disbanded soldiers, and many 
have feared that their return home in such great numlaers might 
paralyze industry by furnishing suddenly a greater supply of labor 
than there will be demand for. I am going to try to attract them 
to the hidden wealth of our mountain ranges, where there is room 
enough for all. Immigration, which even the war has not stopped, 
will land upon our shores hundreds of thousands more per year 
from overcrowded Europe. I intend to point them to the gold and 
silver that waits for them in the West. Tell the miners from me, 
that I shall promote their interests to the utmost of my ability ; be- 
cause their prosperity is the prosperity of the Nation, and (said he, 
his eye kindling with enthusiasm,) we shall prove in a very few 
years that we are indeed the treastoy of the world.'''' 

That evening he (Mr. Colfax) had called again and was with the 
President half an hour just before he started for the theater, to 
which he had been invited to accompany him. But he expected to 
leave Washington the next morning, and having other engagements 
for the evening, he could not go. The President was still in the 
highest spirits in the evening. As he was departing for the theater, 
accompanied to the door by Mr. Ashmun of Massachusetts, — the 
last walk to the door of the Executive Mansion he was evei* to 
take, — as they were shaking hands, a thought seemed to strike the 
President, who repeated in a condensed form what he had just de- 
livered to us, thus showing how important he held it, and said to 
him, "Don't forget, Colfax, to tell those miners that that is my 
speech to them, — a pleasant journey to you. I will telegraph 
you at San Francisco, — good-bye," — the last good-bye of his life. 
These words he brought were the last words of the President on 
public subjects before the bullet of the assassin crashed through 
his brain. It showed that amid the exultation consequent on the 
grandest co-isummation of the dearest wishes of the President and 
the Nr.ticn, the interests of the great West, particularly of the 
miners, were uppermost in his thoughts. These words were true, 
prophetic. "■ . . __ 



THE "RESPECTIVE DUTIES OF GOVERNMENT AND 
PEOPLE— SUGGESTIONS TO THE MORMONS. 

From Mr. Colfax's Speech at Great Salt Lake City, June 12. 

I have had a theory for years past that it is the duty of men who 
are in public life, charged with a participation in the government 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SPEECHES. 407 

of a great country like ours, to know as much as possible of the 
interests, development, and resources of the country whose destiny, 
comparatively, has been committed to their hands. And I said to 
my friends, if they would accompany me, we would travel over the 
New World till we could look from the shores of the Pacific towards 
the Continent of Asia, the cradle of the human race. And, there- 
fore, we are here, traveling night and day over your mountains and 
valleys, your deserts and plains, to see this region between the 
Rocky Mountains and the Pacific, where, as I believe, the seat of 
Empire in this Republic ultimately is to be. 

Now, you who are pioneers far out here in the distant West, have 
many things that you have a right to ask of your government. I can 
scarcely realize with this large assembly around me, that there is an 
almost boundless desert of twelve hundred miles between myself and 
the valley of the Mississippi. There are many things that you have 
a right to demand ; you have created, however, many things here 
for yourselves. No one could traverse your city without recogniz- 
ing that you are a people of industry. It happened to be my fortune 
in Congress to do a little towards increasing the postal facilities in 
the W^est, not as much as I desired, but as much as I could obtain 
from Congress. And when it was proposed, to the astonishment of 
my fellow-members, that there should be a daily mail run across 
these pathless plains and mighty mountains, through the wilderness- 
of the West to the Pacific, with the pathway lined with our enemies 
the savages of the forest, and where the luxuries and even the nec- 
essaries of life in some parts of the route are unknown, the project 
'Was not considered possible ; and then, when in my position as 
Chairman of the Post-Office Committee, I proposed that we should 
vote a million of dollars a year to put that mail across the Continent, 
members came to me and said "You will ruin yourself." They 
thought it was monstrous, an unjust and extravagant expenditure. 
I said to them, though I knew little of the West then compared to 
what I have learned in the few weeks of this trip, I said, *' The peo- 
ple along the line of that route have a right to demand it at your 
hands, and in their behalf I demand it." Finally the bill was coaxed 
through, and you have a daily mail running through here, or it would 
run with almost the regularity of clockwork, were it not for the in« 
cursions of these savages. And here let me say, by way of paren- 
thesis, that if I ever had any particular love for "the noble red man," 
it is pretty much evaporated during this trip. I do not think as 
much of him as I did. They were looking down from the hills at 
us, as we have since learned ; and had it not been that Mr. Otis and 
I had our hair cut so short at Atchison, that it would not have paid 
expenses to be taken even by an Indian, they might have scalped us. 

You had a right to this daily mail, and you have it. You had a 
right, also, to demand, as the eastern portion of this Republic had, 
telegraphic communication speeding the messages of life and death, 
of pleasure and of traffic ; that the same way should be opened up 
by that frail wire, the conductor of Jove's thunderbolts, tamed down 
and harnessed for the use of man. And it fell to my fortune to ask 
it for you ; to ask a subsidy from the government in its aid. It was 
but hardly obtained ; yet, now the grand result is achieved, who re- 



408 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

grets it, — who would part with this bond of union and civilization? 
There was another great interest you had a right to demand. In- 
stead of the slow, toilsome and expensive manner in which you 
freight your goods and hardware to this distant Territory, you should 
have a speedy transit between the Missouri valley and this intra- 
montane basin in which you live. Instead of paying two or three 
prices, — sometimes overrunning the cost of the article, — you should 
have a railroad communication, and California demanded this. I 
said, as did many others in Congress, "This is a great national en- 
terprise ; we must bind the Atlantic and Pacific States together by 
bands of iron ; we must send the iron horse through all these val- 
leys and mountains of the interior, and when thus interlaced to- 
gether, we shall be a more compact and homogeneous Republic." 
And the Pacific Railroad bill passed. This great work of uniting 
three thousand miles, from shore to shore, is to be consummated, 
and we hail the day of peace, because with peace we can do many 
things as a Nation that we cannot do in war. This railroad is to be 
built, this company is to build it ; if they do not, the government 
will. It shall be put through soon ; not toilsomely, slowly, as a far 
distant event, but as an event of the decade in which we live. * * * 
And now. What has the government a right to demand of yon? It 
is not that which Napoleon exacts from his officers in France, — 
which is allegiance to the Constitution and fidelity to the Emperor. 
Thank God, we have no Emperor nor despot in this country, throned 
or unthroned. Here, every man has the right, himself, to exercise 
his elective suffrage as he sees fit, none molesting him or making 
him afraid. And the duty of every American citizen is condensed 
in a single sentence, as I said to your committee yesterday, — not in 
allegiance to an Emperor, but allegiance to the Constitution^ obedience 
to the laws, and dez'otion to the Union. [Cheers.] When you live to 
that standard, you have the right to demand protection ; and were 
you three times three thousand miles from the national capital, 
wherever the starry banner of the Republic waves and a man stands 
under it, if his rights of life, liberty and property are assailed, and 
he has rendered this allegiance to his country, it is the duty of the 
government to reach out its arm, if it take a score of regiments, to 
protect and uphold him in his rights. [Cheers.] 



THE MINES AND THEIR TAXATION. 

From Mr. Colfax's Speech at Virginia City, N'evada, June 26. 

I know that in all these mining regions, there is some distrust and 
alarm, in regard to the taxation of the mines ; and I came here this 
evening to this balcony, that I might tell 3^ou frankly what I believe 
myself, about this interesting subject, whether it agrees with your 
views, or does not agree with them, — for I can only speak to you 
those words that I sincerely believe. I take it for granted, in the 
first place, that everybody in this broad land has, directly or indi- 
rectly, to aid in the payment of our national debt ; that debt which 
has been accumulated for the salvation of our country ; a debt which. 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SPEECHES. 409 

great as it is, is small in comparison with the value of the great in- 
terests which were saved by its incurring. For though it has cost 
much to save this country, it will prove in the end that it has cost 
less to save than it would have cost to lose the country. The ques- 
tion is, how shall this burden be adjusted? For it is the duty of 
the statesman to adjust that burden with equity to all the interests 
in the land. I came from my home on this long journey, not for 
pleasure and relaxation alone, but for instruction ; that I might see 
with my own eyes the improvement in the West, the interests and 
resources of the country on this side of the Continent, its wants and 
what it had a right to demand of legislation. Having been in the 
past, — and I do not speak of it boastfully, for I believe you all know 
what I have done for western interests in the past, — having been in 
that past a sincere and earnest friend of western interests, I thought 
that a personal visit to this intevesting region of the Republic, now 
being developed rapidly, and to be developed with tenfold rapidity 
in the years which are to come, now that peace has returned to our 
land, might make me a more intelligent and useful friend and advo- 
cate of western interests than ever before. 

In the first place, I believe in a fable that I read in my younger 
years, the moral of which was that you should never kill the goose 
which laid the golden egg. On the contrary, you should encourage 
the goose to lay more eggs of that kind. [Applause.] 

I think that is a principle you will all agree in. We are having 
an immense immigration from Europe. It was scarcely checked by 
the war, even with all the threatening of a draft hanging over the 
immigrant, — a threat which the potentates and powers of Europe 
published throughout their lands, and had described with exaggera- 
ted terrors. The subjects in Europe were told that our country was 
racked with civil strife, was going down into anarchy and ruin ; that 
the great institutions of American liberty were overthrown, and that 
we were to be consigned to constant intestine war hereafter. In 
spite ot all these prophecies of evil, immigrants poured in upon us, 
even during the war, by thousands and tens of thousands. They 
will come by hundreds of thousands hereafter. They have to go 
somewhere in this broad land. When they arrive on our shores 
from overcrowded Europe, they should be pointed to this western 
realm of country, filled with the precious metals, open for all men to 
come and prospect and gather for themselves. I want no fetters of 
restriction placed upon the mining prospector who is willing to pur- 
sue his hazardous vocation. On the contrary, I would encourage 
him, and I would encourage others to come hither and follow his ex- 
ample, by extending every reasonable inducement. And I think we 
have a precedent in our legislation, which justifies us in throwing open 
all these lands to whomsoever may choose to come here to dig for sil- 
ver and for gold. If you will look at the policy of our country, which, 
after years of stormy contest in Congress, was finally settled in regard 
to our agricultural lands, — a policy that will never be repealed, — ■ 
you will find a policy which is the truest and wisest that a great 
country could adopt in order to have its people tilling the ^oil, be- 
coming producers of national wealth, adding to our agricultural re- 
sources, calling our people away from the crowded cities to make 
iS 



410 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

them tillers of the soil of the Republic. That policy is to give them 
an estate at a nominal price, throwing open our public lands to them, 
that they may become owners of the soil they till and have a stake 
in the prosperity of the Nation. That is the'great object sought to 
be obtained, and which is obtained, by the provisions of the home- 
stead law. If that is the just policy in regard to the agricultural 
lands, it is equally just in regard to the mineral lands. Because the 
man who goes, enjoying the benefits of the homestead law, to till 
the soil, is assured of success. He knows, judging by all ordinary 
calculations, that when he turns over the greensward with his plow 
and puts in the seed, it will return him ten, twenty or fifty fold. But 
the miner, on the contrary, knows that his vocation is a hazardous 
one ; and if there should be a priority of benefits to either, I would 
hold out rather more inducements to the miner upon the mineral 
lands, than I would to the tiller upon the acres of agricultural lands. 
[Applause.] But I believe in assimilating the policy. If it is right 
in the one case it is right in the other, and upon that rock of right I 
plant myself in that policy. [Applause.] 

But the homestead law says that this land shall only be given to 
the farmer upon condition that he will occupy and improve the land 
himself. If he abandon the land, he loses it. If he attempts to 
hold it as a non-resident, he loses it. He must go on and add to the 
national wealth by his industry ; and upon that condition he receives 
the land at a mere nominal fee for the patent granted to him, after 
five years occupancy, by the government. That seems to be the 
correct policy, and that should be the policy in regard to the mineral 
lands. While the right of discovery and occupancy should be pro- 
tected by the government, when mineral discoveries, or what are 
supposed to be such, are abandoned, they should not be held to the 
exclusion of those who might l)e willing to work the abandoned 
claims. That is a doctrine which is based upon the principles of 
justice, I think. 

Now, my friends, in regard to taxation, I have precedents which 
will be familiar to you when I quote them. And I speak of these 
things because I would, as far as possible, impress on your minds 
those precedents, as I believe them to be right, and that your sena- 
tors, and that your representatives may place your claims and your 
demands in the Capital at Washington, not upon the basis of a bo- 
nus to the miner, but upon the basis of justice as compared with 
other interests in the land. Let us examine the principles of the 
tax bill which we have framed. I know that it is a heavy and oner- 
ous tax bill. Nothing in the shape of a tax bill is calculated to be 
popular. Government can never get that class of bills exactly cor- 
rect ; and I would not claim that this one is exactly correct, although 
I believe it is as nearly equal in its burdens as possible. In that 
tax bill you will see illustrated the policy of Congress, which has 
been to put the tax as far away as possible from the first production 
of the soil. Let us take, for instance, the article of wood. There 
is nothing in the tax bill levying a tax on wood growing in the foiest 
or cut down by the forester ; but when the wood is manufactured 
into a buggy, into a wagon, into cabinet-ware, or into any other kind 
of work made of wood, then the tax accrues for the first time upoa 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS I SPEECHES. 41 1 

the manufactured article, whatever it may be, and not until then. 
It is so with wool. There is no tax in the national tax law on the 
wool upon the sheep's back ; there is no tax upon it after it is 
clipped from the sheep's back and ^^acked up in bales in the store 
of the wool merchant or sheep raiser. But when the wool is manu- 
factured into woolen goods, then it is taxed, — not until then. The 
same principle applies to tobacco, which I presume you know is very 
heavily taxed. Now, 1 don't suppose that any of you drink whiskey, 
[Laughter and cries of "No, no!" "never!"] But if you do drink 
whiskey, — which I don't, — you will realize that every glass of whis- 
key which you drink and pay for, contributes a portion to the reve- 
nues of the general government, whether you like it or not. Now I 
take all my vice out, — (I think every man is guilty of at least one 
vice, — I don't believe there are any perfect men, — I believe the 
ladies are about all perfect. Heaven's last best gift to man, but I 
believe that all men are addicted to one vice or another) — I take my 
vice out in tobacco, in smoking. I take my cigar, and have the 
Satisfaction of thinking that by every one I smoke I am aiding 
somewhat in the support of the general government. If any of you 
take patent medicines, you are entitled to feel the same interest and 
satisfaction in the operation. [Laughter.] You will see on the out- 
side label a stamp of from two to four cents. So much is contribu- 
ted to the general government from that particular source. But, to 
resume seriously: There is no tax upon tobacco in the leaf, nor is 
there any tax upon the corn out of which the whiskey is made. 
When the corn is manufactured into whiskey, then the government 
puts the tax on the whiskey. When the tobacco is manufactured 
into cigars or plug, then the tax is put on. This is the policy of the 
general government in this respect. There is only one exception to 
it. That is cotton. Cotton is taxed when it is produced in the 
field. There is a reason for that. Cotton used to be king. We 
concluded that we would see if we could not in this Republic dare 
to tax the king. That is the only exception in the tax law. In 
6very other case the tax is put away from the produce until the 
article is manufactured or ready for consumption. 

You understand already what I am going to say to you. That is 
just my theory in regard to the taxation of the precious metals. 
Don't embarrass the men who are taking the precious metals out 
of the mines ; but when these metals are assayed, when they enter 
as bullion or coin into the monetary wealth of the country, then they 
will be taxed, and then they should be taxed, and then, whether you 
like it or not, they must be taxed. [Great applause.] I think that 
is the true basis to put this whole question upon in Congress, and, 
presented in that way, I believe that you can command success and 
that regard for your interests which you need and justly require. 



THE PACIFIC RAILROAD. 
From Mr. Colfax's Speech at Virginia City^ Nevada^ June 26. 
A Voice. — " How about the Pacific Railroad V 
In regard to the Pacific Railroad, I can only turn to my record on 



412 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

that subject. I believe the Pacific Railroad to be a national and po- 
litical and military necessity. I believe that there should be a rail- 
road binding this great Continent together with its iron bands. It is 
riveted and banded together now by mountain and river and plain, 
upon which are written : " What God has joined together let no 
man put asunder." And when the tide of immigration poured 
across these Plains and made these States of the Pacific Coast, 
looking out over the slope of the Sierras across the Pacific Ocean 
to the birthplace of mankind, the Continent of Asia, I believed it 
was our duty, the duty of those of us living in the older States, to 
make the means of transit between the Pacific and Atlantic States 
not a slow and toilsome journey by ox or horse or mule team, but by 
the iron horse that we have in all other portions of the land. Years 
and years ago, before there was a Pacific Railroad bill passed in 
Congress, I was its earnest advocate. When men talked about the 
amount of money that would have to be paid by the general gov- 
ernment in the building of a line of road, I said that was not an iota 
in the balance in comparison with its national benefits. Since that 
time the necessity for it has been enhanced. It is needed for the de- 
velopment of this mineral wealth. Go with me to Austin, where I 
saw their seams of silver with my own eyes. There are mines there 
which would be sources of wealth on either side of the Sierra Ne- 
vadas. Many of them, besides those now being worked, could be 
developed, but cannot be now. Why? Because of their distance 
from their base of supplies ; because of the great cost of freight, — 
of machinery. But when we have a Pacific Railroad opening to this 
vast interior region, with all its enormous resources, then the mining 
pioneers of our country will be able to work with great profit the 
mineral lands which cannot now be worked at all. It will pay back 
to our national treasury far more than the bonus which may be given 
to aid in the construction of such a railroad or railroads ; it will add 
to our national wealth ; besides being a bond of union, firm as the 
eternal hills, over which the tracks will run. And I believe that it 
is about to come, and come rapidly, if continued peace enables us to 
devote the energies of the country to it. 



THE REPUBLIC AND PEACE— THE MEXICAN 
QUESTION. 

From Mr. Colfax's Speech at San Francisco^ July 8. 

So much for the past and present of our country. Now, what of 
its future .'' Providence hides destiny from individuals. 

" Heaven from all creatures hides the book of Fate ; 
All but the page prescribed, — the present state." 

But Nations can predict their destiny for themselves. It is beyond 
the limit of mortal conception to compass the grandeur of the future 
of our Nation, if prudence guides its course. Napoleon has said in 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SPEECHES. 413 

his day, after a bloody war, that his empire was peace ; we can more 
truly say that this Republic is peace. Peace is the mission of Free- 
dom, and Freedom is the primal principle of the American Repub- 
lic. It is not by the glory and triumphs of aggressive war that its 
destiny is to be realized, but by peace. 

I am here among you people of California apparently a welcome 
guest. You have placed full confidence in my honesty of purpose, 
and I would not appear before you to speak only those words which 
you would applaud, when I really differed from you. I know how 
you feel on the Monroe Doctrine and driving out Maximilian. [Tre- 
mendous applause.] I do not agree with you on these subjects ; I 
will be frank with you. I am opposed to war for any purpose, or 
for any cause, except for the vindication of the national honor, or 
the salvation of the Union. [Applause.] I am for such a war, if it 
should occupy four, ten or forty years; but to war in any other 
cause, that can be honorably avoided, I am opposed. You people 
of California have not seen the horrors and desolations of war 
around your own doors ; you have not seen the hundreds and thou- 
sands of friends, neighbors and countrymen torn, mangled, dead and 
dying on the cold earth moistened by their blood ; you have not 
seen the long string of ambulances carrying the mangled, groaning, 
suffering thousands as they have been carried to the hospitals to die, 
or to suffer mutilation even worse than death, that cause vigorous, 
industrious men to become burdens on society for life ; you have not 
seen and could not have heard of half the horrors of war. Oh, it 
is a fearful thing to rush into war, except for the preservation of 
one's country. Such a war is as sacred as the war against the Sara- 
cens to save the sepulchre of the Savior from the pollution of the 
Infidel. I am for no war with any Nation, if that war can by any 
honorable statesmanship be avoided, even if by saying so I shall be 
driven into private life. I am a believer in the justice and patriot- 
ism and republicanism of the Monroe Doctrine. [Tremendous ap- 
plause.] But I am not for war with France and England on that 
question now, with its renewed destruction of our commerce ; its 
rivers of blood, and its millions of added debt. I want the Pacific 
Railroad built, instead of the laurels of victory on fields of carnage 
and of death. I want the progress and blessings of peace, instead 
of more hecatombs of piled up dead, and hundreds of millions 
more of debt. I want the prosperity and developments of peace. I 
do not object to the principles of the Monroe Doctrine. I admire 
the courage and patriotism of Juarez and his patriot bands in de- 
fence of their native land. I do not think Maximilian is the right- 
ful ruler of Mexico. [Enthusiastic applause.] But I object to rush- 
ing into a foreign war ere we have scarcely ended our domestic one, 
to drive him out. I believe that diplomacy can effect the purpose 
better. Time may settle it for us, if we are but patient and firm. 
When you have a President in the chair, who is such a believer in 
the Monroe Doctrine as Mr. Johnson, whose sentiments expressed 
in the Senate of the Nation on this question, leave us in no doubt 
where he stands. Trust him, then, to effect this object. His patri- 
otism no one can doubt. Faithful among the faithless, he stood by 
his country when every other southern senator faltered or deserted. 



414 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Remember that his chief adviser is W. H. Seward, whom God has 
spared from the bloody harvest of the assassins who thought to 
gather the lives of six of the truest in the land, but reaped with 
their murderous sickle but one. Trust him ! His diplomacy has 
more than once saved the country from a foreign war, and will solve 
this question successfully without war. We are strong enough as a 
Nation to gain our own ends without wars. Let us stand by and 
trust in the government, in Johnson, in Seward, in Stanton and 
their faithful associates, and all will be well, [Applause.] 



CALIFORNIA'S PAST AND FUTURE. 

From Mr. Colfax's Speech at San Francisco, jfuly 8. 

You, as a people, are most deeply interested in the future progress 
and prosperity of our common country. Less than twenty years 
ago, — and what a little time it appears, — this great city of San Fran- 
cisco was not ; its site was scarcely known. But gold was discov- 
ered, and hither came adventurous pioneers with their caravans, 
laden, not with the spices and perfume of Asia, nor like the cara- 
vans of the Indies, with their wealth, but with their wives, children, 
and household goods, wending their way over the sandy deserts, or 
scaling craggy passes through the mighty mountain ranges that sep- 
arate you from your sister States on the Atlantic side of the Con- 
tinent. These Avere men of energy and of iron will ; and it needs 
both to travel two thousand miles over such a country, and to brave 
the blood-thirsty savages on the way. They were men of faith, 
tried in the ordeal of adversity, and profited by its lessons. It was 
such men who founded your State, it was such men that saved it 
from the grasp of slavery, which its advocates had already fastened 
upon it. It was by their means that she entered the glorious sister- 
hood of States, clothed in the golden robes of Freedom. If with 
such a foundation, with the example of such men before you, you 
are but true to yourselves, it is beyond the power of language to 
picture the glory of your future. Your city is destined to become 
the New York of the Pacific, commanding much of the trade of 
China, Japan, India, Australia, Mexico, South and Central America, 
while your st6re of mineral wealth, and the richness and variety of 
your grain and fruit, and the energy and enterprise of your people, 
must make your futute great and glorious. Then the interest taken 
in the departures of your semi-monthly steamers, will be lost in the 
continued daily departures of many to all parts of the globe. And 
now, as I say to you good-night, let us all rejoice together, that, 
from Orient to Occident ; from sea to sea ; from the Atlantic sea- 
board, where the masts of our commerce are like the trees of the 
forest, across valley and river, over the vast mountains that lift their 
mighty forms as sentinel watch-towers of our inheritance; to the 
Golden Gate; from the frozen North to the sunny South, we have 
now, and shall have in all the coming centuries, but one Nation, one 
Constitution, one Flag, and one glorious Destiny ! 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SPEECHES. 415 

AMERICA AND BRITAIN. 

From Mr. Colfax's Speech at 'Victoria^ Vancouver's Island, July 27. 

You have given me a welcome that is truly gratifying, I see 
around me not only American citizens, but the officials, civil and 
military, and the subjects of that great and good woman, Queen Vic- 
toria. Although I am a republican in every sinew and fiber, I never 
think of her without my heart flowing with gratitude. When our 
country was in imminent peril, and when Great Britain and America, 
the representatives of a common lineage, a common I'anguage, and, 
if such it can be called, a common religion, were almost embroiled 
in mortal conflict on the Trent difficulty. Queen Victoria stepped in 
and demanded of her ministers that the character of their missives 
should be conciliatory ; that it should not be repulsive to the United 
States, but should enable the American people to comply with the 
request without any sacrifice of honor. On that occasion she proved 
her wisdom, her sagacity, and her kindness. ******* 

I know there are difficulties between the United States and Na- 
tions on the other side of the Atlantic, but these can be safely con- 
fided to the sagacity and wisdom of the respective governments. 
We Americans should never forget, so long as we speak the same 
tongue, how much we owe to the people of the British Isles, — in 
science and art ; in history and literature ; in poesy and song. We 
claim an equal share in the fame of Shakespeare and Milton, Cowper 
and Pope, Gibbon and Macaulay, Newton and Rosse. * * * * 

The people of Great Britain respect the memory of Wilberforce. 
I think it was Macaulay who said of that great man, when he as- 
cended to the judgment-seat of God, that he held in his hands the 
shackles of a hundred thousand of his fellow-beings. We had an- 
other name hallowed in all our memories, and never to be forgotten 
in connection with the emancipation of the slaves, — the name of a 
great and good and kind-hearted man, — Abraham Lincoln, — who, 
taking the helm of State, never despaired of our great Republic, 
proving himself the faithful and indom.itable pilot, steering through 
good and ill the Ship of State. While he stood at the helm, he was 
the greatest and purest and best in the land ; and when he went 
above, he took with him the fetters of a down-trodden and oppressed 
race, which no power on God's footstool could ever again place on their 
enfranchised limbs. The whole civilized world now sees that when 
ingrates and rebels lit the torch of civil war, they also lit the funeral 
pyre of the institution of slavery. Let me not be misunderstood ; 
I believe that this war will open a new era for the genial and fertile 
land of the South. The honorable gentleman here sketched in glow- 
ing language the peculiar advantages of the South, saying that it 
held three great keys of the country, — Hampton Roads, the keys of 
Florida and New Orleans ; and that, with free and paid labor to re- 
place that enforced system of labor which had been a blight to man- 
kind, — for with Lamartine he believed that God never allowed a 
chain to be bound round the limbs of the slaves, without forging 
the other end round the neck of the oppressor, — the fortunes of the 
country would again be in the ascendant. If our people were -^y 



4l6 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

faithful to themselves, to their institutions, to the country, they would 
merit and attain to the grandest destiny that lay in the womb of time 
for any Nation on the globe. Instead of thirty-six stars, a whole 
galaxy of blazing orbs would spangle that glorious field of blue. 
The star of Washington Territory, — that only Territory that has 
been named after the great and immortal statesman, — would shine 
there; the stars of Idaho, of Montana, of Colorado, of all the Ter- 
ritories, would shine on that glorious flag, and all these noble States 
would revolve round the central government as one central sur — 
distinct as the billows, but one as the sea ! 



FAREWELL SPEECH, 
At the Parting Banquet in San Francisco, September I. 

Ladies and Gentlemen : — The brevity that an occasion like this 
commands, impels me to omit much that rises before my mind as I 
stand before you. But the kind and generous hospitalities of which 
we have been the recipients, culminating in this brilliant testimonial, 
which is at once a reception and a farewell, and the very cordial and 
complimentary address to which I have just listened, forbid that I 
should remain entirely silent. 

Just two months ago, after journeying over thousands of miles of 
mountains and valleys and deserts and plains, your honored Mayor, 
and a Committee of your Supervisors met us in the cabin of the 
steamer "Chrysopolis," and gave us an official welcome to this 
seven-hilled city. Since then, in all our travels upon this Coast, we 
have been accustomed to speak of San Francisco as a home. And 
now, though I came here a strange i and a traveler, I feel like one 
who is indeed about to leave his home and hearthstone. [Applause.] 

When on Saturday morning; I sail out through the Golden Gate 
upon the broad ocean, and see headland and cliff recede from view, 
I shall feel, as now, the inward struggle between the joy with which 
I think of the home and the many friends of many years, and the 
regret with which I leave the home I hope I have in the hearts of 
new friends here. 

Our party came hither to learn, by actual observation, more of 
this Pacific portion of the Republic, its resources and its wants; and 
you can testify that the grass has not grown under our feet. We 
have seen your varieties of mining, — placer, hydraulic and quartz. 
We have seen many of your rich agricultural valleys, — the Sacra- 
mento, San Joaquin, San Jose, Petaluma, Russian River Napa, 
Sonoma, Alameda, and others. We have traveled on nearly every 
mile of your two hundred to three hundrea miles of railroads, clos- 
ing with the delightful excursion to-day on the Alameda Railroad, 
for which we were indebted to its president, Mr. Cohen. We have 
visited, or passed through, over half of your cities and towns. We 
have enjoyed visits to your great national curiosities, the world-re- 
nowned Yosemite Valley, to be visited by thousands hereafter, in- 
stead of scores, if California, by wise legislation, ajjpreciates the 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SPEECHES. 417 

gift of it from the general government, — the Big Trees, the Geysers, 
and your neighbors, the Sea Lions. 

We have examined, with interest, many of your manufactures, and 
reared as I was, in the school of Henry Clay, to believe in Ameri- 
can manufactures, I am prouder of the suit in which I am clothed 
to-night, of California cloth, from wool on the back of California 
sheep, woven by the Mission Woolen Mills, and made here, than of 
the finest suit of French broadcloth I ever owned. [Applause,] I 
would urge you, in these last words, to foster manufactures, which 
are the backbone of national or State prosperity and independence. 
Even if they should not be profitable as a pecuniary investment, 
every triumph of mechanical or manufacturing industry here, is 
another spoke in the wheel of your progress. Develop and foster 
commerce on your great Pacific sea ; for Raleigh spoke truly when 
he said, "Those who command the sea, command the trade of the 
world ; those who command the trade of the world, command the 
riches of the world , and thus command the world itself." [Applause.] 

But the moments sweep by, and I must not detain you longer. 
There have been weary hours in all this incessan' journeying, but 
they have been happy and golden hours, too ; happy, because full- 
freighted with hospitality and feasts to the eye and the mind; 
golden, because filled with recollections that will never die ; friend- 
ships never to be forgotten till this heart ceases to beat ; affectionate 
regards more priceless than the wealth of Ormuz and the Ind ; and 
memories enshrined in the soul foreverc [Applause.] 

Hoping I have a happy God speed from you all on the long jour- 
ney before me, I must now say farewell, — no, not farewell, for that 
seems for life, and 

"Farewell, farewell, is a lonely sound 
That always brings a sigh ; 
But give me rather, when true friends part, 
That good old word, good-bye." 

And thus, to friends of other yearsj whom I have met here so hap- 
pily again, and to the newer friends I have found in your midst, I 
bid you, one and all, not a life-long but a regretful Good-Bye. 

18* 27 



IV. 

IDAHO AND ITS MINES. 



WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE OVERLAND JOURNEY 
FROM OREGON TO SALT LAKE CITY. 

The following letter concerning Idaho Territory, its mines and 
miners, and the routes through it, was written for the Editor of this 
Volume by a distinguished and intelligent citizen of Oregon, who 
has just traveled leisurely through that country, and properly com- 
pletes the observations and information as to the Pacific States and 
Territories, which the book has undertaken to give. The letter will 
be found very interesting, and its facts are reliable : — 

Salt Lake City, October i, 1865. 
The route from Oregon to Salt Lake, through Idaho, a distance 
of over eight hundred miles, presents occasional rare scenic views 
and interesting objects. We left The Dalles, at the eastern slope of 
the Cascade Mountains, in the gray of early morning . and a ride of 
thirteen miles over Oregon's longest railroad, at the base of towering 
rocky bluffs which there line the southern bank of the Columbia, 
along the narrow gorges of the river, worn deep into the hard ba- 
salt, sometimes so near the edge as to reveal the dark surface of the 
river, far down below; then so close'y to the mountain bluff that it 
seemed to overhang and threaten with its fall,— brought us to Celilo, 
the depot of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company's (conven- 
iently abbreviated to O. S. N. Co.) boats on the Upper Columbia. 
Here we were transferred to one of their comfortable steamers, in 
which we made the trip to Wallula, a distance of one hundred and 
twenty-three miles, much of the way against a strong current, in 
about twenty hours. The country along this portion of the river is 
i the main uninviting. It consists of bald and mostly barren hills, 
or sandy flats. Here and there along the way, on either side, at 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: IDAHO. 419 

long intervals are small streams putting into the river, and draining 
proportionately small valleys, upon which are scattered settlements. 
But the great surface of the country is unoccupied and unsuscepti- 
ble of settlement. 

At Wallula we took seats in the stage for Walla Walla, the site 
of the old fort of that name, and a pleasant, thrifty town of fifteen 
hundred or two thousand inhabitants. A disastrous fire had, a few 
weeks before, swept away near one-half of the village, but it was 
rapidly being rebuilt. This region has in former years been the 
scene of Indian troubles, and Walla Walla is a point of historic in- 
terest with officers of the old army. Probably half of their num- 
ber have sometime visited the post, while not a few have been 
stationed there, and have participated in the Indian wars the sur- 
rounding country has been the theater of. 

The valley of the Walla Walla consists of uplands, valuable for 
grazing, but too arid for cultivation, interspersed with bottoms or 
low-lands, mostly farmed without irrigation, and some of which are 
of surpassing fertility. The corn, small grains, root crops, melons, 
squashes, etc., which were growing or standing harvested upon the 
ground, might be safely compared with the richest productions of 
the Mississippi valley. But these lands are limited, and the best 
portion of them claimed, and, where for sale, held at high figures 
for a new country. 

The country along the route from Wallula comprises little but al- 
kali plains, covered with sage brush, with an occasional fertile spot, 
upon which usually is located a stage station, and cultivated a boun- 
tiful garden. This region, like all that east of the Cascade range, is 
exempt from the winter rains of western Oregon and California. 
The winters are dry and cold, though much milder and accompanied 
with less snow than in like latitudes east of the Rocky Mountains. 

At Walla Walla, going east, is commenced the overland stage 
ride. This is the starting point proper of Thomas & Ruckel's 
stages for the Boise mining region, connecting there with Holladay's 
line for Salt Lake and Missouri River. The distance from Walla 
Walla to Boise City is about three hundred and fifty miles. Another 
line of stages leaves the Columbia at Umatilla Rapids, twenty-two 
miles below Wallula, connecting at Uniontown, situated at the 
southern end of Grand Ronde valley. Messrs. Thomas & Ruckel 
have constructed a road across the Blue Mountains, over which 
their stages pass. It is new, in perfect repair, and one of the best 
mountain roads upon the Continent. A ride upon it over the Blue 



420 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

range is surpassingly grand, and an event to be remembered and 
enjoyed for a lifetime. Sometimes* you pass high up along the very 
edge of a deep ravine, where a capsize on the wrong side would 
precipitate you hundreds of feet into the rocky gorge below ; again, 
you are upon a lofty mountain top, where the scenery, as far as 
vision can reach, is as wild and beautiful as eye ever rested upon ; 
then you are in the bottom of a deep gorge, where mountains above 
you covered with immense forests tower almost out of sight ; now 
you find yourself in a natural park, stretching miles away, studded 
with bright yellow pines and carpeted with luxuriant grass. Thus the 
panorama is ever changing, ever inspiringly grand and, enchanting. 

The first day's ride brought us to the Warm Springs, where the pro- 
prietors of the stage line are erecting a substantial hotel and other 
buildings suited to a watering and bathing place. Here are three 
springs of sulphur water, of just the right temperature for bathing, 
gushing out from the rocky sides of the mountain. In one of them 
I enjoyed a delightful bath, and here I found some rheumatic ac- 
quaintances being cured of their malady by the healing virtues of 
the medicinal waters which nature has so lavishly provided. 

The Blue are often pronounced "the best mountains in Amer- 
ica ; " the most gradual of ascent, with the best soil, grass and tim- 
ber. Upon their highest summits, where the timber is not too 
thick to permit their growth, the finest quality and greatest quantity 
of natural grasses are found. 

The second day's ride took us through the Grand Ronde valley, 
a beautiful, level tract of country, from forty to fifty miles in length 
and twenty or thirty in width, surrounded on every side with moun- 
tains. It is a pleasant spot to look upon, but too much elevated for 
general agricultural value. For years the emigrant to Oregon has 
passed through this valley on his weary way to the Willamette. 
Occasionally a late party would winter here, on account of the abun- 
dant grass, and resume their journey in the spring. But all were 
deterred from settling by the long winters and late and early frosts. 
Since the discovery of gold in Idaho, the only line of travel from 
the West and North has been through this valley. This gives a 
high value to the hay which, in lavish abundance, is cut here. Con- 
sequently many, who in former years passed neglectfully through 
here, returned and settled in Grande Ronde. But they will be 
compelled to depend mainly upon their herds and hay, for the late 
springs and early falls render the production of anything else diffi- 
cult and uncertain. We passed through in early September, and 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: IDAHO. 42 1 

the country had already been visited with a light snow, and frosts 
so heavy that all tender vegetation was completely killed. Fields 
of wheat were green and unharvested. 

Passing out of the Grand Ronde through the only "gap" in the 
surrounding hills, we enter Powder River Valley, less in size than 
Grand Ronde, and nearly valueless for farming or grazing. A few 
settlers are found here, but the valley is mostly destitute of grass, 
and covered with sage brush. In this valley, yet in Oregon, we 
stopped a day to visit the Rockfellow gold mine, owned by Colonel 
Ruckel. It is seven miles from the stage road, a quartz mine, ex- 
clusively gold-bearing, and of a very high grade of fineness. The 
product coins over nineteen dollars per ounce. It is apparently a 
very rich mine, and, so far as indications point, of probable perma- 
nency. It is pretty well opened, and is being successfully worked 
under the superintendence of Captain Laban Coffin, an old Massa- 
chusetts skipper, from Nantucket, I believe ; at any rate, from some 
bleak country down that way. 

Farther on, and over a generally barren country, we cross Snake 
River at Old's Ferry, — the proposed starting point of the Oregon 
Steam Navigation Company's new line of steamers, which are ex- 
pected to ascend the river from there two hundred miles, — and are in 
Idaho. A continued ride over a similarly valueless country, spot- 
ted with indifferent ranches, about thickly enough for stage stations, 
and we reach Boise City. Time from Walla Walla, two and a half 
days ; fare, sixty dollars, coin, except upon "opposition days," when 
it is forty dollars. 

Here ends the Thomas & Ruckel Stage Line. The proprietors 
are characters and powers in this country. George F. Thomas is 
of Irish extraction, if not of birth. He may not know whether the 
latter or not ; certainly he doesn't care. Formerly he was a knight 
of the whip in Georgia. Drifting to California, with the early adven- 
turers to that country, after the discovery of gold, he became a large 
stockholder in the California Stage Company, and was for some 
years its Vice-President. In that capacity he established the line 
from Sacramento to Portland in Oregon, residing in the latter State 
the while. Upon the discovery of gold in Idaho in 1862, he sold 
his interest and resigned his position in the California Company, 
and removed to Walla Walla, from whence he ran stages, as the 
constantly shifting tide of mining travel demanded. Afterwards, 
Colonel Ruckel joining him, they extended their line to Boise City, 
constructing, at a heavy outlay, the Blue Mountain road. He is a 



422 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

sensible, whole-souled, hospitable " Irish gentleman," fond of a quiet 
glass, a good story or joke, and said to be the best judge of the horse 
on the Pacific Coast. Colonel J. S. Ruckel went early from New 
York to California, and thence to Oregon, without means, but with 
great resources in business ability and energy. Alone, unaided, he 
constructed the first railroad in the Territory, along the Cascades, 
and built the "Mountain Buck," which was among the first steamers 
to navigate the waters of the Columbia. Afterwards he merged rail- 
road and steamboat in the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, a 
corporate body with two millions capital stock, and owning all the 
steamers and controlling all the business of the Columbia River. 
He became a prominent member of the company, for some time its 
Superintendent, and lastly its President. He has now left it, how- 
ever, and is devoting his wealth and energy to mining and staging 

Idaho Territory has an area of one hundred and twenty-five thou' 
sand square miles, and is bounded on the north and east by British 
Columbia and Montana, south by Utah and Nevada, and west by 
Oregon and Washington. Idaho is an Indian word, signifying "the 
gem of the mountains." It was chosen by the early gold hunters as 
an appropriate name for the embryo State in the mountains, then ex- 
tending both sides of the Rocky range. But a comparatively small 
portion of its vast surface is susceptible of tillage, and mining must 
ever continue its principal interest. The population of the Territory 
is now probably about twenty-five thousand. It has been more ; but 
as the richest placer diggings are exhausted, other and richer localities 
are sought. About half of this population has been contributed by 
Oregon ; the remaining half must be about equally divided between 
California and Nevada, and the States east of the mountains. In the 
mountains a great depth of snow falls in the winter ; but the climate 
is milder than in like latitudes and altitudes on the Atlantic side. 

Boise City, the capital of the Territory, is, for a mining region, a 
substantial, steady-going little town. It contains some ten or twelve 
hundred inhabitants, comprising a number of families, and affording 
tolerable society. It is the depot for all the mining region so far 
discovered in southern Idaho. Here are some large stocks of min- 
ing goods, and here, and through here, all the mining towns and 
camps obtain or receive their supplies. There are no mines imme- 
diately about the town, nor, indeed, nearer than twenty-five miles. 
It is located upon the west bank of the Boise River, a moderate 
stream which marks a fertile but narrow valley, in which nearly all 
the grain and vegetables, thus far raised in southern Idaho, are pro- 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: IDAHO. 423 

duced. This product, however, does comparatively little towards 
supplying the miners. The bulk comes from Oregon, with an oc- 
casional venture of salt and vegetables from Utah. 

Idaho City is some thirty-five miles north of Boise City, and you are 
taken there in the stages of Henry Greathouse, a brother of Ridgley 
Greathouse, who '.vas convicted at San Francisco of attempting to fit 
o\it a pirate vessel, discharged under the amnesty proclamation of 
Mr. Lincoln, afterwards re-arrested, taken to New York and confined 
in Fort Lafayette, firom which he made his escape and fled to Europe, 
where he now is. His brother, Henry, is understood to hold southern 
sympathies, but never talks of public affairs. He is a quiet, hard- 
working man, drives a coach himself, when necessary, and has ac- 
cumulated a good deal of money. The town is situated in what is 
termed the "Boise Basin," between Moore and Elk Creeks, branches 
of Boise River, and is the largest town in the Territory. It is in the 
midst of an important placer district, and contains from five to seven 
thousand inhabitants, on week days, and from ten to fifteen thousand 
on Sundays. For Sunday is a populous and profitable day with a 
mining town. On that day all the miners for miles around visit the 
town to purchase supplies, exchange greetings, gamble, guzzle, and 
indulge in the dissipations of mining metropolitan life. Idaho City, 
seen on Sunday, is a very different town from the Idaho City of 
any other day. There is no store, shop or business place of any 
character closed on that day. It is altogether the busiest of the 
week with shopkeepers, victualers, gamblers and whiskey dispensers. 

Idaho City is built in and over the mines, and one-third or one- 
haK of the buildings in the place have been already mined under ; 
nearly all undoubtedly will be. In a mining country the miner is 
king, and his will is the law. If he finds " pay dirt" under a house, 
he locates and records his claim, and commences to undermine it, 
without saying "by your leave" to owner or occupant. Of course, 
as he digs, he props up the building so that it may not fall upon his 
head ; that secure, he troubles himself no further. When a claim 
is worked out, he leaves it without filling under or further propping 
up the house. If it falls, it concerns not him. The city or territo- 
rial authorities have enacted laws forbidding the undermining of 
buildings without making them permanently secure from fall. But 
the miners elect the officers and compose the juries that administer 
the law ; it is unnecessary to add, the miner wins the suit. Several 
have been commenced and prosecuted, but with no other result. 
The same is the case with regard to the streets ; where the miner's 



424 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

claim leads across, up or down one, across, up or down he goes, 
wherever "pay dirt" points, and the public can repair or abandon 
the road, as they find most convenient or profitable. 

About two months prior to our visit, Idaho City had been almost 
entirely destroyed by fire, occasioning an estimated loss of one mil- 
lion five hundred thousand dollars. Already the town had been re- 
built with a better class of wood buildings than before, interspersed 
with a number of brick blocks. The recuperative energies of a 
flourishing mining town are extraordinary. 

The " Boise Basin," as it is called, is a sink or depression in the 
mountains; higher mountains surrounding constitute the basin's 
"rim." I do not know the extent of the basin, but should think it 
to be from thirty to forty miles in length, and perhaps a little less in 
width. Over this are scattered placer mines of varying extent and 
richness, the most important of which are those in the vicinity of 
Idaho City. There are, however, other placers and other towns 
of consequence, not far distant, in the surrounding country. One 
of the latter bears the euphonious name of " Hog 'em," said to have 
been derived from the swinish propensities of its early proprietor. 

These placer mines are of considerable extent, and more than fair 
productiveness. They are of three classes: the first and richest 
being the " Creek diggings," comprising the bed of the creek and 
its low banks ; the next and less productive, though yielding from 
ten dollars to fifteen dollars per day to each miner when supplied 
with water, includes the higher bank ; the third consists of hill dig- 
gings beyond, still poorer, but paying for working when water can 
be had. The Creek diggings, best and longest supplied with water, 
have been generally worked out, and, of course, with them has gone 
the cream of the mines. An unusual rise of Moore and Elk Creeks 
last spring brought down the "tailings" from the mountains, and 
buried the claims below ten or twelve feet deep, and all summer the 
miner has been compelled to "strip" this surface off before being 
able to work his claim. The bench and hill diggings, with here and 
there the exception of a gulch, down which the melting snows have 
poured torrents, remain generally undisturbed. They depend mainly 
upon the melting snows and spring rise for water. The consequence 
is, the mining season for anything but Creek diggings is short, not 
exceeding two or three months of each year. 

We were in the Basin in the month of September, the dull season. 
Probably at that time ten thousand persons were employed in placer 
mining. In the spring the number has heretofore been larger, and 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: IDAHO. 425 

will again be, if other excitements and discoveries do not further 
draw off the population. Already, it was said two thousand persons 
had left for the Blackfeet Mines, and if the reports of rich discoveries 
there were confirmed, a stampede in the spring was predicted. 

I have no means of ascertaining accurately the product of the 
Idaho gold mines. The known amount deposited for coinage in 
the San Francisco mint for the year ending December, 1864, was 
reported at three million five hundred thousand dollars ; and San 
Francisco estimate placed the total amount for that year at six mil- 
lion dollars. That is probably not above the actual product. But 
mining there is, as everywhere else, a precarious business, a life of 
excitement, and not seldom ron-success. A few acquire sudden 
riches ; the many make a living. 

In and around the Boise Basin are many gold-bearing quartz 
leads, some thought to be rich and extensive, but few, if any, yet fully 
proved to be so. Several mills are at work upon some of them, bi'.t 
none that we saw are so far developed as to satisfactorily demonstrate 
their richness. Among the apparently promising leads we visited 
were three lying near together in the Summit Flat District, distant 
some fifteen or eighteen miles from Idaho City. They are called 
the ' Mammoth," "King," and "Specimen" Ledges, and are owned 
by Messrs. Jackson, Humason and Bibb. They are gold mines only, 
and not extensively developed ; yet reasonably promising so far as 
they have been worked. There has been an eight-stamp water-mill 
running upon the ore of one of them for a year, and, from the pro- 
ceeds of it, they had purchased and were erecting a ten-stamp steam- 
mill, expecting to have it running by the beginning of winter. They 
were without capital, except as they dug it from the mine, and were 
therefore compelled to work slowly. The country about the Flat is 
liberally supplied with water and timber, which makes working the 
mines easier and cheaper. 

South Boise, distant about sixty miles, is a more recent discovery, 
and is thought to be richer in quartz than the Basin. The discov- 
eries there are mostly silver. 

The Owyhee mines are situated in the mountains of that name, 
about sixty miles south of Boise City, to reach which you are com- 
pelled to pass over the worst alkali road in Idaho. There is a line 
of stages running there from Boise City. We found two little towns, 
Ruby and Silver Cities, extending more than a mile along the nar- 
row gulch in which are limited placer mines. The Owyhee mines 
are almost wholly silver-producing, and there can be little doubt 



426 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

that the district is, as a whole, rich in this metal. There are some 
valuable ledges there, and many worthless ones; some honest and 
some bogus, wild-cat companies. The only mine which has been 
fully proven rich is the "Oro Fino," and, perhaps, the "Morning 
Star," owned by Moore & Fogus. Upon the first ledge they have 
excavated a tunnel six hundred feet long, and sunk a connecting 
shaft, also upon the ledge, over one hundred feet. All the way they 
find it rich and wide, and improving in both respects as they go in 
and down. On the "Morning Star," they have sunk a shaft about 
one hundred feet, and thus far find the ledge yielding well. 

There are doubtless many other valuable ledges there, but none 
have been so fully tested. Some New York companies are putting 
up large mills, and twenty or thirty are on the way. Some ledges, 
little prospected, may prove rich. Others, doubtless, will be found 
worthless. Some interests, valuable and valueless, are claimed by 
those who have failed to comply with the mining laws of the Terri« 
tory, and consequently they have no title. Many were talking about 
going East to sell their mines, and, if they can raise the passage 
money, a goodly number will be in the eastern cities before long, 
with Idaho mines and mining stock for sale. Some of this species of 
property will be genuine ; much of it will possess no known or prob- 
able value. Purchasers should be well assured of the standing and 
repute of parties with whom they deal and upon whose representa- 
tions they rely. If not, they had better personally inspect, or employ 
some reliable agent to do so, before they purchase mining property. 

The Owyhee district is sparsely supplied with wood, and water is not 
abundant. There will be fuel enough for some j^ears, but if the district 
proves as rich as it is expected to, it must become exhausted at no very 
distant period. Probably before that time coal will be discovered. 

Illustrative of mining life are the experiences and conditions of 
some acquaintances I found in Idaho. One was an excellent gen, 
tleman, a lawyer of learning and ability, who once held an impor- 
tant appointment connected with the United States courts of one of 
the Pacific States. He is a graduate of Harvard, son of a wealthy 
Bostonian, who desires him to travel. In pursuance of such re- 
quest, accompanied with unlimited letters of credit, he spent last 
fall and winter at the Sandwich Islands. Now he was in the Boise 
Mines, in miner's garb, with pick and shovel, hard at work upon a 
not over-remunerative claim. 

Another acquaintance had, in years agone, fallen heir to a saw- 
mill in California, by the death of a brother. The mill soon in- 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS! IDAHO. 42/ 

volved him beyond his ability to pay, and was sold, leaving him in 
debt. He remained in that unpleasant condition until the spring 
of 1863, when, with a small steam saw-mill that he could have al- 
most packed upon a wagon, he went to Idaho City. I met him last 
month, just on the eve of leaving for the Atlantic States with fifty- 
five thousand dollars in gold. 

A third I had known in early times on the Pacific Coast- as a man 
of wealth. In dissipation he had squandered the most of it. Go- 
ing early to Boise le soon made another "raise," and was worth 
forty or fifty thousand dollars n gold. Now he was "flat broke." 
Cards, whiskey and women were the rocks upon which he had a 
second time wrecked. The son of a New England deacon, and 
graduate of a New England orthodox Sabbath school, was keeping 
a stylish drinking saloon, and living with a commercial miss, with 
whom, owing to the scarcity of clergymen or other persons quali- 
fied to perform the service, he had never married. When I meet 
his relatives they always inquire after his welfare, and, anxiously, 
if "he continues to love the Lord and grow in grace." 

A leading clergyman of a popular denomination built a church 
at Idaho City, and occasionally preached in it on Sunday; and be- 
ing engaged in merchandising, it was said his clerks kept his store 
open, the while. At the time we were there, preaching had been 
suspended and the church rented to the United States for a court- 
room; and the only time we visited it. Chief Justice McBride was 
trying a murderer therein. 

Captain Fiske relates finding in Idaho a Mr. Murphy, who en- 
deavored to sell him a mine he owned for twelve thousand five 
hundred dollars. Captain Fiske declined to buy, and, a few months 
after, Murphy sold the property to New York capitalists for one 
hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars. A few weeks before I 
was at Owyhee, an acquaintance, in company with another, discov- 
ered a silver lead. He sold his half for eleven hundred dollars. 
While we were there, one-fifth of the same half was sold for thirty 
thousand dollars, gold. A friend who, burnt out by fire and washed 
out by flood, became bankrupt in the Willamette Valley, went to 
Boise in 1862 or '63. Now he is joint owner in four stores and 
stocks of goods, a fast freight and passenger stage line near four 
hundred miles long, a large hotel, and much other property. A 
good many others, who went there in indigent circumstances, I also 
found had "held their own" remarkably. 

The stage line from Boise City to Salt Lake, three hundred and 



428 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

seventy miles, — fare one hundred dollars, gold, — is owned by Ben 
Holladay. It traverses a barren country, covered with the inter- 
minable sage, and inhabited only by coyotes and" wolves. We pass 
within two miles of the celebrated and not long ago discovered 
Falls of Snake River, greater than those of Niagara, but could not 
visit them without remaining over a day, and running the risk of 
finding a crowded coach on the morrow. Unless I shall some time 
chance to pass that way again, I shall never cease to regret that we 
did not remain and visit that world-wonder. A little farther on, at 
the last crossing of the south fork of the Columbia, we found quite a 
large river abruptly bursting from out a mountain side. It ran, cold 
and clear, a short distance, and added its waters to those of the Snake. 

The Boise end of this road has sometimes been visited by "road 
agents," as highwaymen are called in the mines. They infest all the 
roads leading from Boise. The day before we left Boise City, the 
stage-coach was robbed by them. Among the passengers was a 
miner with eight thousand dollars in gold, the savings of two years' 
labor in the mines. He had been in town several days, inquiring 
whether it was safest to go to the States by way of Walla Walla or 
Salt Lake. Probably his inquiries led to the robbery of that par- 
ticular coach by some villains of the town. They usually go in 
parties of about a half do^en, disguised and armed with double- 
barreled shot-guns, and, springing suddenly from an ambush, rarely 
fail to succeed in stopping the coach and robbing the passengers. 
If resistance is not made, they do not usually add murder to their 
crime. When their depredations become frequent, the community 
generally rise and hunt them like wolves, shooting and hanging them 
wherever found. Order then succeeds, as long as the fright con- 
tinues. These depredations become every year less frequent, and 
the danger is not now considered great. 

These vast sage plains ! Is it not possible that sometime in the 
ages to come, as soon, perhaps, as they will be required for settle- 
ment, timber may cover them, rains and rivers follow, and popula- 
tion swarm ? 

At Bear River we paid for our breakfast in greenbacks, being the 
first place at which we found them circulating as currency. Here 
the stage line merges with Holladay's line from the mining regions 
of Montana, and continues eighty miles to Salt Lake. A short dis- 
tance brought us into prosperous Mormon settlements, through 
which we continued to pass until night rolled us into this chief city 
of the "Latter-Day Saints." 



V. 

THE YOSEMITE VALLEY. 



ITS MARVELS AND ITS BEAUTIES SCIENTIFICALLY 
DESCRIBED. 

From Professor J. D. Whitney's Geological Reports — Vohtnie II. 

The Yosemite Valley is situated on the Merced River. It is 
about one hundred and forty miles in a direction a little south of 
siast from San Francisco. It is nearly in the center of the State, 
north and south, and exactly midway between the east and west 
bases of the Sierra, here about seventy miles wide. 

The valley is a nearly level area, about eight miles in length and 
varying from half a mile to a mile in width. For the lower six miles 
its course is from north-east to south-west; the upper two miles are 
nearly at right-angles to this, the angle of the bend being at the spot 
vvhere the Yosemite Fall comes over the precipice on the north side. 
Below the expanded portion of the valley, the Merced enters a ter- 
ribly deep and narrow canyon, which is said to be inaccessible, and 
which we had no time to explore. 

The peculiar features of the Yosemite are : first, the near ap- 
•proach to verticality of its walls ; next, their great hight, not only 
absolutely, but as compared with the width of the valley itself; and, 
finally, the very small amount of debris, or talus, at the bottom of 
these' gigantic cliffs. These are the great characteristics of the val- 
ley throughout its whole length ; but besides these, there are many 
other striking peculiarities, and features both of sublimity and 
beauty which can hardly be surpassed, if equalled, by those of any 
mountain scenery in the world. 

Tutucanula (Great Jehovah,) or El Capitan, is an almost vertical 
clift" of naked, smooth granite. From its edge down to the valley 
below is about three thousand three hundred feet ; it is usually 
called three thousand six hundred feet, which may be the extreme 
hight of its slightly rounded summit. It is undoubtedly one of the 
grandest objects in the Yosemite, and it would be difficult to find 
anywhere in the world a mass of rock presenting a perpendicular 
face so imposing and elevated. The pile of debris at its base is so 
insignificant in dimensions, compared with the cliff itself, that it is 



430 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

hardly noticed at all from some points, in a general view of the val- 
ley, and this is one of the most striking and unique features of the 
scene, for it is a condition of things of the rarest possible occur- 
rence. We know of nothing like it in any other part of the world. 

The Bridal Veil Fall, of Avhich the Indian name is " Pohono," is 
about one thousand feet in hight, and, during the season when the 
stream is fed by the melting snow on the mountains above, it is a 
wonderfully beautiful object. The body of water is not large, but 
is sufficient to produce the most picturesque effect. As it is swayed 
backwards and forwards by the varying force of the wind, it is con- 
tinually altering its form, so that it seems, especially as seen from a 
distance, to flutter like a white veil ; hence the name, which is both 
appropriate and poetical. 

Proceeding up the valley, we find, a little above the Bridal Veil 
Fall, and on the same side, the prominent and massively sculptured 
pile to which the name of Cathedral Rock is given. It was not 
measured by us, but it appears to be about three thousand feet in 
hight. Behind this are the "Cathedral Spires," two slender and 
beautiful columns of granite, on the same gigantic scale as every- 
thing else in this region, and which here are passed almost unno- 
ticed, although, by themselves, in other parts of the world, they 
would be considered objects of the greatest interest. 

A couple of miles farther up the valley, and on the other side, is 
the next cluster of peaks, a triple row of summits rising in steps one 
above the other; these are called the "Three Brothers." From the 
highest of these, nearly four thousand feet above the valley, there is 
the finest view which can be had of the Yosemite itself and the 
whole surrounding region up to the crest of the Sierra. 

Opposite the Three Brothers is a prominent point, which stands 
out near the angle where the valley makes its most distinct turn, and 
which, from its fancied likeness to a gigantic watch-tower, is called 
" Sentinel Rock." As seen from the south-west, it is a group of 
cliffs, of which the outside one has quite the form of an obelisk, 
very regular and beautiful, for at least a thousand feet down. The 
entire hight of the Sentinel above its base is a little over three 
thousand feet. 

Three-quarters of a mile south-east of the Sentinel is the Dome 
of the same name, four thousand one hundred and fifty feet high, 
and one of the most perfect of the dome-shaped masses of granite 
so peculiar to the Sierra Nevada. Its horizontal section is nearly 
circular, and its slope very regular and uniform on all sides. From 
its summit the view is, of course, extremely grand ; it is especially 
fine in the direction of the Obelisk Group of mountains, and it com 
mands the canyon of the south fork of the Merced, — "Illilouette,' 
as it is called by the Indians. From this point the glacial phenom- 
ena, and especially the regular and extensive moraines, of that val. 
ley are finely displayed. The profile of the Half Dome is best seen 
from the Sentinel Dome. 

From near the foot of Sentinel Rock, looking directly across the 
valley, we have before us, if not the most stupendous feature of the 
Yosemite, at least the most attractive one, namely, the Yosemite 
Fall. About the time of full moon, and in the month of May, June, 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS I THE YOSEMITE. 43 I 

or July, according to the dryness and forwardness of the season, is 
t\e time to visit the Yosemite, and to enjoy in their perfection the 
glories of its numerous Vv'ater-falls. Those who go later, after the 
snow has nearly gone from the mountains, see the streams dimin- 
ished to mere rivulets and threads of water; they feel satisfied with 
the other attractions of the valley, its stupendous cliffs, domes and 
canyons, and think that the water-falls are of secondary importance, 
and that they have lost little by delaying the time of their visit. 
This is not so ; the traveler, who has not seen the Yosemite when ' 
its streams are full of water, has lost, if not the greater part, at 
least a large portion, of the attractions of the region, for so great 
a variety of cascades and falls as those which leap into this valley 
from all sides has, as we may confidently assert, never been seen 
elsewhere, — both the Bridal Veil and the Nevada Fall being unsur- 
passed in some respects, while the Yosemite Fall is beyond anything 
known to exist, whether we consider its hight or the stupendous char- 
acter of the surrounding scenery. 

The Yosemite Fall is formed by a creek of the same name, which 
heads on the west side of the Mount Hoffman Group, about twenty 
miles north of the valley. The volume of water varies, of course, 
with the season; at the ordinary stage of summer, through the 
months of June and July, it is about twenty feet wide and two feet 
deep, on the average. From the edge of the cliff over which it is 
precipitated to the bottom of the valley, the perpendicular distance 
is, in round numbers, two thousand five hundred and fifty feet. Pro- 
fessor Brewer's measurement gave two thousand six hundred and 
forty-one, and that of Mr, King two thousand five hundred and 
thirty-seven, the difference being due to the circumstance that the 
lip or edge is a gradual curve, and so highly polished that a near 
approach to, or a precise definition of, the place where the perpen- 
dicular portion of the fall commences is impossible. 

The fall is not in one perpendicular sWet. There is first a verti- 
cal descent of fifteen hundred feet, where the water strikes on what 
seems to be a projecting ledge ; but which in reality is a shelf or 
recess, almost a third of a mile back from 'the front of the lower 
portion of the cliff. From here the stream finds its way in a series 
of cascades down a descent equal to six hundred and twenty-six feet 
perpendicular, and then gives one final plunge of about four hun- 
dred feet on to a low talus of rocks at the base of the precipice. 
As these various falls are in one vertical plane, the effect of the 
whole from the other side of the valley is nearly as grand, and per- 
haps even more picturesque, than it would be if the descent was 
made in one sheet from the top of the cliff to the bottom. The 
mass of water in the fifteen hundred foot fall is too great to allow of 
its being entirely broken up into spray, but it widens very much as 
it descends, and as the sheet vibrates backwards and forwards with 
the varying pressure of the wind, which acts with immense force on 
this long column of water, the effect is indescribably grand, espe- 
cially under the magical illumination of the full moon. The cliff a 
little east of the edge of the Yosemite Fall rises in a bold peak to 
the hight of three thousand and thirty feet above the valley ; it can 
be reached through Indian Canyon, a little farther east, and from 



432 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

here a most magnificent view of the whole region may be obtained. 
The ascent to the summit of the upper fall and the return to 
the valley may be made in one day, but only by good mountain- 
climbers. 

About two miles farther up from the fall^ just noticed, the main 
valley of the Yosemite comes to an end, and runs out into three 
distinct canyons, each of which, however, has new wonders to 
disclose. The Merced River keeps the middle one of these, and 
its course here is about the same that it was below, or nearly 
west. In the left-hand, or north-westerly canyon, the Tenaya 
Fork comes down; in the right-hand one, the south fork or the 
Illilouette. 

Following up the Tenaya Fork, we have on the right hand, just 
at the entrance of the canyon, that grandest and loftiest mass of 
the Yosemite Valley, called the Half Dome. This has been in 
sight, however, through all the upper part of the valley, above the 
Yosemite Falls, and is a conspicuous point from all the region 
around. It is an inaccessible crest of granite, rising to the hight 
of four thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven feet above the 
valley, the face fronting towards Tenaya Creek being absohttely 
vertical for two thousand feet down from the summit. The whole 
appearance of the mass is that of an originally dome-shaped eleva- 
tion, with an exceedingly steep curve, of which the western half 
has been split off and has become engulfed. Hence the name, 
which is one that seems to suggest itself at first sight of this truly 
marvelous crest of rock. 

From all the upper part of the valley, and from the hights about 
it, the Half Dome presents an aspect of the most imposing grand- 
eur; it strikes even the most casual observer as a new revelation 
in mountain forms ; its existence would be considered an impossi- 
bility if it were not there before us in all its reality ; it is an unique 
thing in mountain scenery, and nothing even approaching it can be 
found except in the Sierra Nevada itself. 

The North Dome, on the opposite side of the valley of Tenaya 
Creek, is another of these rounded masses of»granite, of which 
the concentric structure, is very marked. It is three thousand five 
hundred and sixty-eight feet in elevation above the valley, and is 
very easy of ascent from the north side. At the angle of the can- 
yon, appearing as a buttress of the North Dome, is the Wash- 
ington column, a grand, perpendicular mass of granite, and by its 
side the Royal Arches, an immense arched cavity formed in the 
cliffs by the giving way and sliding down of portions of the rock, 
the vaulted appearance of the upper part of it producing a very 
tine effect. 

Farther up the canyon of Tenaya Creek is a little lake, called Tisa- 
yac ; it is surrounded by the most picturesque cliffs, having the 
giant Half Dome overhanging its eastern side. 

The canyon of the Merced, above the Yosemite Valley proper, 
rises very rapidly for the distance of about two miles, when it attains 
the level of the surrounding plateau. In this two miles the river 
descends one thousand nine hundred and eighty fee't, making, be- 
sides innumerable cascades, two grand falls, which are among the 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: THE YOSEMITE. 433 

greater attractions of the Yosemite, not only on account of their 
hight and the large body of water in the river during the early part 
of the season, but also because of the stupendous peaks and cliffs 
by which they are surrounded. 

The first fall reached in ascending the canyon is the Vernal, or 
Piwyac. It is a simple perpendicular sheet, four hundred and seven- 
ty-five feet in hight, as nearly as we could determine, the blinding 
spray at the bottom rendering exact measurements impossible. The 
rock behind the Vernal Fall is a perfectly square cut mass of gran- 
ite, and it is wonderful to see how little any eroding effect of water 
can be traced in its outline. It would seem as if causes now in ac- 
tion had nothing to do with the formation of this step in the descent 
of the Merced down to the valley below. 

Ascending to the summit of the Vernal Fall by a series of lad- 
ders, and proceeding a mile farther up the river, passing a series of 
rapids and cascades of great beauty, we come to the last great fall 
of the Merced, namely, the Nevada, or the "Yowiye," of the In- 
dians. The total descent, from the edge of the Nevada Fall to that 
of the Vernal, is eight hundred and ninety-four feet ; of which six 
hundred and thirty-nine, as near as we could determine, is in one 
perpendicular sheet. The Nevada Fall, however, has a peculiar 
twist in it, near the summit, caused by the mass of water falling on a 
projecting ledge, which throws it off to one side, adding greatly to 
the picturescjue effect. This fall is certainly to be ranked as one of 
the very finest cataracts in the world, taking into consideration its 
hight, the volume and purity of the water, and the whole character 
of the scenery which surrounds it. Mount Broderick alone being an 
object of which the fame would be spread world-wide, if it were not 
placed as it is, in the midst of so many other wonders of nature. 

There are also grand cascades in the South Fork Canyon, the 
scenery through the whole of which is little inferior to that of the 
other portions of the Yosemite ; but, amid so many objects of at- 
traction, few visitors find time to examine this canyon, especially as 
the trail by which it is reached is a rough and difficult one. 

In the angle formed by the Merced and the South Fork Canyon, 
and about two miles south-southeast of Mount Broderick, is the 
high point, called the "South Dome," and also, of later years, 
"Mount Starr King." This is the most symmetrical and beautiful 
of all the dome-shaped masses around the Yosemite ; but it is not 
nsible from the valley itself. It exhibits the concentric structure 
of the granite on a- grand scale ; although its surface is generally 
smooth anfl unbroken. Its summit is absolutely inaccessible. 

Having thus briefly noticed some of the more prominent objects 
of interest about the Yosemite, we may add a few words in regard 
to the valley itself This is an almost level area, the fall from one 
end to the other of the valley proper being only about fifty feet. 
The width of the bottom-land, between the slopes of debris at the 
base of the cliffs, is only about half a mile ; below El Capitan, however, 
it is nearly twice as much. Its smooth surface and brilliant color, 
diversified as it is with groves of trees and carpeted with showy 
flowers, offer the most wonderful contrast to the towering masses 
of neutral and light purple-tinted rocks by which it is surrounded. 
19 28 



434 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

Its elevation above the sea is, according to our measurements, four 
thousand and sixty feet ; and the cliffs and domes about it are from 
seven thousand to' nine thousand in altitude above the sea-level. 

All will recognize in the Yosemite Valley a peculiar and almost 
unique type of scenery. Cliffs absolutely vertical, like the upper 
portions of the Half Dome and El Capitan, and of such immense 
hights as these, are, so far as we know, to be seen nowhere else. 
The dome form of mountains is exhibited on a grand scale in other 
parts of the Sierra Nevada; but there is no Half Dome, even 
among the stupendous precipices at the head of King?s River. It is 
natural to ask, then, how these vertical cliffs have been formed, and to 
what geological causes does the Yosemite Valley owe its existence ? 

Most of the great canyons and valleys of CaiiK)rnia have resulted 
from denudation. The long- continued action of the tremendous tor- 
rents of water, rushing with impetuous velocity down the slopes of 
the Sierra, has excavated those prodigious gorges, by which the chain 
is furrowed to the depth of thousands of feet. But these eroded 
canyons, steep as they may be, have not vertical walls ; neither have 
their sides the peculiar angular forms which the mass of El Capitan, 
for instance, has, where there are two perpendicular surfaces of 
smooth granite meeting at right-angles, and each over three thou- 
sand feet high. 

Farther investigations are needed to discuss the theory of the 
formation of the valley with scientific intelligibility ; but it may now 
be stated, that it appears to us probable that this mighty chasm has 
been roughly hewn into its present form by the same kind of forces 
which have raised the crest of the Sierra and moulded the surface of 
the mountains into something like their present shape. The domes, 
and such masses as that of Mount Broderick, we conceive to have 
been formed by the process of upheaval itself, for we can discover 
nothing about them which looks like the result of ordinary denuda- 
tion. The Half Dome seems, beyond a doubt, to have been split 
asunder in the middle, the lost half having gone down in what may 
truly be said to have been "the wreck of matter and the crash of 
worlds." It has been objected to this view, by some of the corps, 
that the bottom of the valley, in places where an engulfment must, 
according to this theory, have taken place, seems to be of solid, 
granite, when there should be an unfathomable chasm, filled now, 
of course, with fragments, and not occupied by a solid bed of rock. 
To this it may be replied, in the first place, that the masses which 
have been engulfed may have been of such enormous size as to give 
the impression, where they are only imperfectly exposed, of perfect 
continuity and connection with the adjacent cliffs. But, again, this 
grand cataclysm may have taken place at a time when the granitic 
mass was still in a semi-plastic condition below, although, perhaps, 
quite consolidated at the surface and for some distance down. In 
this case it is not impossible, certainly, that the pressure from above 
may have united the yielding material together, so that all traces of 
the fracture would be lost, except in that portion of it which affected 
the upper crust. If the bottom of the Yosemite did "drop out," to 
use a homely but expressive phrase, it was not all done in one piece, 
or with one movement ; there are evidences in the valley of fractures 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPKKS : THE Y05EMITE. 435 

and cross-fractures at iight-angles to these, and the different seg- 
ments of the mass must have been of quite different sizes, and may 
have descended to unequal depths. 

In the course of our explorations, we obtained ample evidence of 
the former existence of a glacier in the Yosemite Valley, and the 
canyons of all the streams entering it are also beautifully poHshed 
and grooved by glacial action. It does not appear, however, that 
the mass of ice ever filled the Yosemite to the upper edge of the 
cliffs ; but one of our corps thinks it must have been at least a thou- 
sand feet thick. He also traced out four ridges in the valley which 
he considers to be, without a doubt, ancient moraines. One of these 
ridges is a low and narrow band of fragments of rock and rounded 
boulders, extending from the base of the Half Dome in a curve 
down the valley, and up again to the debris under the Washington 
Column. This seems to be the terminal moraine of the Tenaya 
Creek glacier. 

A well-defined medial moraine extends from the foot of the west- 
ern end of the Half Dome out into the valley, in a slight curve. 
Another one was formed between the glaciers descending from the 
canyon of the Merced and the south fork, and remains now as a 
large pile of debris extending down the valley. 

A terminal moraino^extends across the Yosemite Valley from the 
cliffs just below the Bridal Veil Fall, curving down the river on the 
south side and up again on the north until it meets the talus about 
a quarter of a mile below El Capitan, thus forming a complete bar- 
rier across the valley. It is not very conspicuous, rising only about 
twenty feet above the general level, yet it seems to mark an impor- 
tant change in the character of the talus at the foot of the cliffs of 
the Yosemite. . Above it the quantity of debris accumulated in this 
position is exceedingly small ; indeed, there is in some places actu- 
ally none at all, the lower edge of the cliff meeting the floor of the 
valley, with hardly a fragment of rock lodged in the angle ; below 
the moraine, on the other hand, the debris piles are extensive, unit- 
ing at the river, and extending high up the cliffs on each side. 

It seems not unlikely that this moraine may have acted as a dam 
to retain the water within the valley, after the glacier had retreated 
to its upper end, and that it was while thus occupied by a lake that it 
was filled up with the comminuted materials arising from the grinding 
of the glaciers above, thus giving it its present nearly level surface. 
It is evident, from the fresh appearance of large masses of debris 
along the sides of the valley, that these materials are now accumu- 
lating with considerable rapidity ; and when we consider how small 
the whole quantity of talus is, as compared with the hight and ex- 
tent of the cliffs, we are forced to the conclusion that the time which 
has elapsed since the Yosemite was occupied by a glacier cannot 
have been very long. It would seem that there are strong reasons 
for believing that a great change in the climate of California may 
have taken place within the historical period. We know that such 
a change has occurred, as there is abundant evidence to prove that 
the precipitation of moisture in the Sierra Nevada was once vastly 
greater than it now is ; but to the cause of this change we have as 
yet no clue. 



VI. 

"THE BIG TREES." 



THE GROVE IN CALAVERAS COUNTY. 

The following exact and scientific measurements of some of the 
largest of the Big Trees in the grove in Calaveras County, Cali- 
fornia, were made in August, 1865, by Dr. Charles T. Jackson of 
Boston, Massachusetts, and Mr. Joseph B. Meade of Stockton, 
California. It will be seen that none of these are so large in cir- 
cumference and diameter as the " Grizzly Giant " and some of its 
companions in the less-known and less-visited grove near Mari- 
posa, as described in Letter XXII of this volume : — 

" We were provided with a Sir H. Douglass reflecting semi-circle, 
a reflecting level, and a measuring tape, and by means of these in- 
struments have made quite accurate measurements. The horizontal 
point, or level, was first ascertained on each tree by means of the 
reflecting level, and the angle was measured' to that point, and the 
difference of level was corrected for in each case. By means of the 
tape the base lines were determined, and the circumference of each 
tree at least six feet above the ground, or where the tree took its 
proper form, was measured. Sir H. Douglass' reflecting semi-circle 
is made so as to protract the angles, and it carries also a scale for 
measurement of the sides of the triangles protracted. In several 
instances we repeated the measurements, with different bases, espe^ 
cially in those where too high an angle introduced the error of refrac- 
tion of the glass of the mirrqrs. 

,, J. TT- r J. Circnmferenct 

^^'"li' 'f ^'^/{ six feet above 

if'' T^'^''- ^« A^- the roots. 

T. Starr King, 366 50 

General Scott, 327 45 

General Jackson, 320 42 

Two Sentinels (front of hotel), .315 — 

Salem Witch, 310 — 

Trinity, . ." 308 48 

Mother of the Forest, .... 305 63 

William C. Bryant, 305 49 

Henry W. Beecher, 291 45 

Granite State, 286 50 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS : THE BIG TREES. 437 

the Trees. ttifeet. tie roots. 

General Washington, .... 284 52 

Abraham Lincohi, 281 44 

Bay State, 280 48 

Old Kentucky, 277 45 

Empire State, 275 50 

Andrew Johnson, 273 32 

Daniel Webster, 270 49 

Mother and Son, 269 64 

Edward Everett, 265 46 

Pride of the Forest, 260 50 

Vermont, 259 41 

John Torrey (nobis), .... 259 35 

Arbor Vitse Queen, 258 31 

Beauty of the Forest, .... 258 — 

Henry Clay, ....... 241 44 

" We measured the following large pines near the hotel : — 

P. Englemanni, or yellow pine, . 232 27 

Another, 220 19 

P. Lambertiana, or sugar pine, .165 — 

" The big stump covered by the vStump House has a mean diam- 
eter of twenty-three feet one and one-third inches, and its least pos- 
sible age is one thousand three hundred and eighty years, allowing 
only ten annual rings per inch. The extremes are ten and sixty, 
and computing the mean thirty-five per inch, the tree will be four 
thousand eight hundred and thirty years old." 



THE SPECIES AND THE NAME. 
A California journal accompanies the above with these notes upon 
.the scientific status of the Big Trees : — 

For several years after their discovery there was considerable dif- 
ference of opinion among scientific men as to the true position 
which the tree occupies in the botanical system. Soon after its dis- 
covery, an English botanist, supposing it to be a new species, named 
it " Wellingtonea Gigantea ;" which, however, a patriotic American 
proposed the more appropriate name, " Washingtonea Gigantea." 
It was subsequently named "Tuxodium Gigantium," by Messrs, 
Kellogg & Behr, in a paper read before the California Academy of 
Natural Sciences, in May, 1855. In the succeeding August, Dr. 
Torrey, the distinguished American botanist in a communication to 
Silliman's American Journal of Science, settled the matter to the 
satisfaction of the whole scientific world by placing it, where it un- 
doubtedly belongs, in the same geiuis as the redwood, — which was 
already known as the "Sequoia," — and this being a larger species 
than any previously known, was very properly called the " Sequoia 
Gigantea." 



VII. 

CALIFORNIA'S WEALTH. 



STATISTICS. 

From an Agricultural Address by Dr. Holden of Stockton, 1865. 

The State of California, with a length of 570 and an average 
breadth of 230 miles, embraces 89,685,515 acres adapted to agricul- 
tural purposes, besides 29,000,000 acres of swamp or " tule " land, 
thousands of acres of which are now being reclaimed, and much of 
it producing unparalleled crops of vegetables, grass and fruits. 
The area of the valley land is 30,000,000 acres, making, with the 
mountain land, a total of 100,000,000 acres suitable for agriculture 
and grazing. Of this there is under fence over 6,000,000 acres, of 
which 178,960 acres (in i860) produced 3,068,093 bushels of wheat ; 
154,690 acres produced 4,639,678 bushels of barley; 37,620 acres 
produced 1,263,459 bushels of oats. This year, as near as can be 
ascertained up to the present date, four times the above amounts of 
cereals have been raised. Fruit trees and grape vines in i860 num- 
bered 6,000,000. These have quadrupled up to this time. Stock 
of all kinds in i860 numbered 1,577,980; horses, 157,700; cattle, 
722,374; sheep, 491,794; goats, 12,743; swine, 165,921; mules, 
47,000; poultry, over 80,000. At the present time there are ovet 
2,000,000 sheep, and in no part of the world do they do better, or 
can they be raised at a less- cost. The French and Spanish Me- 
rinoes, the Southdown, the Cotswold, and other varieties, have been 
imported from the Atlantic States, France, Spain and Australia, and 
prosper as well as in their native countries. Wool is fast becoming 
an important article of export, over 7,000,000 pounds having been 
shipped last year. Besides the inexhaustible gold mines, which em- 
brace over 44,000 square miles, minerals and metals of almost every 
kind have been found. Silver, copper, platina, iron, quicksilver, an- 
timony, tin, arsenic, cobalt, manganese, lead, coal, ochres, saltpetre in 
large quantities, lime, gypsum, freestone, marble, granite, borax and 
brimstone are found in quantities to supply the world. Petroleum 
has been recently discovered in several sections of the State, and 
bids fair to be of great value, thus adding another item to our wealth 
and commerce. Over $1,000,000,000 of gold have been exported 
since 1856. 



VIII. 

THE GOLD MINES OF CALIFORNIA 

AND THE 

SILVER MINES OF NEVADA. 



THEIR HISTORY, CONDITION AND PROSPECTS. 

The following elaborate and authentic Paper on the Gold Mines of 
California, and the Silver Mines of Nevada, particularly those upon 
the celebrated Comstock Vein in Virginia and Gold Hill, is by Mr. 
William Ashburnek, the confidential mining engineer of the lead- 
ing bankers of San Francisco, and the Mineralogist of the California 
State Geological Survey. It will be found most full and exhaustive 
on the subjects which it treats, and as intelligent as it is reliable in 
its statements; and the Editor commends it, with confidence and 
with pride, to all parties interested in the development of our great 
mineral resources, as a faithful guide and instructor both in their 
theoretical study and their practical operations : — 

Mr. Samuel Bowles, — My Dear Sir:— 

INTRODUCTORY. 

The redundancy of currency in the eastern States has stimulated 
enterprise, during the last few years, in all branches of industry, and 
the discovery of silver bearing veins in Nevada has afforded a field 
for speculation in mining properties, such as has never before been 
witnessed in the United States. 

Several millions of dollars have already been invested by eastern 
people, some of them persons of small means, in the mines on this 
Coast; and I purpose in the following pages to show briefly the 
present situation of the two important interests of gold and silver, 
as exemplified by the quartz mines of California and the Comstock 
vein of Nevada. 



440 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

We are all familiar with the excitement caused by the discovery 
of gold in California during the spring of 1848. For many years 
subsequent to that event, the tide of emigration flowed steadily 
hither, bringing an adventurous population from all parts of the 
world, attracted solely by the desire of reaping the advantages sup- 
posed to be possessed by those engaged in mining for the precious 
metals. The scene of their operations extended along the western 
slope of the Sierra Nevadas, rarely reaching into the mountains for 
more than twenty-five miles from the lower foot hills, being limited 
on the south by Mariposa County, and on the north by Siskiyou. 
This district, which is about two hundred and fifty miles in length, 
forms what is known as the gold region of California, and in it are 
those great placers which, in spite of prophesies of early exhaustion, 
are still continuing to furnish an annual supply of gold, amounting 
to more tlian forty millions of dollars. 

QUARTZ MINING IN CALIFORNIA. 

In addition to this, the quartz mining interest has been gradually 
developed, so that now, although the gross amount yielded by the 
mines of this nature, does not compare very favorably with that 
afforded by the placers, it is, and promises to continue for many 
years to come, to be, one of the most important interests of the 
State. It affords a fine field for the investment of capital, when 
guided judiciously, and the significant fact of but few of .these mines 
having as yet found their way into the hands of eastern proprietors, 
shows in what manner they are regarded here. The principal quartz 
mining districts of California are in Mariposa County, Tuolumne, 
round about Sonora, Amador County, near Jackson, Nevada County, 
where the celebrated mines of Grass Valley are situated, Sierra and 
Plumas counties. 

The mining of quartz for gold in California dates back as far as 
the summer or autumn of 1850, when a small mill was constructed 
in Mariposa County. The year following, quartz mining was com- 
menced in Grass Valley, and has been continued with the greatest 
success in that locality ever since. , Here are now, without any doubt, 
the richest gold mines in the world, and they are yielding regu- 
larly from two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to three hundred 
thousand dollars a month, which is nearly one-third the total pro- 
duction of gold from the quartz mines in California. There are 
probably at the present time from seventy-five to one hundred mills 
in successful operation throughout the State, yielding annually about 
eight millions of dollars worth of gold. The veins which furnish 
the quartz for these mills, are generally situated in the immediate 
neighborhood of rich placers ; they have, for the most part, a dip 
and direction nearly coincident with the stratification ; their worka- 
ble width varies from a few inches to thirty or forty feet, though it 
invariably happens that the wider the vein, the poorer it is. The 
rock in which they are encored is either slate, granite or greenstone, 
and it is difficult to state which of these three formations is most 
prolific, and the best adapted for gold producing veins ; for we have, 
in each of them, mines which have been worked for years, and are 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: GOLD MLNES. 44 1 

still continuing to yield apparently as well as ever. The Princeton 
mine on the Mariposa estate is in slate, and is now down to a depth 
of more than six hundred feet; it has already yielded about three 
million of dollars worth of gold, and it is by no means certain that 
this mine is now exhausted, although the yield is very much less 
than it was formerly. 

The history of every quartz mine, which has been worked for any 
length of time, will show great changes in the yield of rock from 
month to month; or, perhaps, from year to year; and it is not yet 
proved that, in the more permanent veins of California, the per- 
centage yield of the quartz is less at great depth than nearer the 
surface. There appears to be no general rule governing the distri- 
bution of gold in the body of the vein, and after working for months 
with a regular yield, suddenly, without any apparent cause, the 
quartz will become nearly barren, and destroy well arranged plans, 
as was the case with the Princeton mine in December, 1864, when, 
after having for some time afforded rock which was gradually in- 
creasing in value until it yielded forty dollars per ton, it suddenly 
fell off, without giving any warning, to six dollars. This was the 
immediate cause of the failure of the Mariposa Company. 

Near Jackson, in Amador County, the mine of Hayward & Co., 
affords an interesting example of the success, which sometimes at- 
tends deep quartz mining. The vein, upon which it is situated, has 
been worked for the last ten years with varying success. The re- 
sults obtained, during the first few years of its history, were any- 
thing but encouraging, and work was prosecuted in depth almost 
against hope. Since i860, however, the mine has yielded with the 
greatest regularity, and now at a depth of nine hundred and sixty 
feet, the quartz is said to be of as good and in some places of even 
a better quality than that found nearer the surface. Geologically, 
this vein is one of great interest. It is situated at the junction of 
the slates and greenstone, and is of the nature of a contact deposit. 
The length of underground workings is between five hundred and 
six hundred feet, and in one place, the vein has been, worked to a 
width of forty feet. 

In the neighborhood of Grass Valley the veins are in greenstone, 
and their width is very much less, as a g^ineral thing, than those 
which are found in the slates. Still their greater richness enables 
them to be worked with large profits. Two of the most famous 
mines of this district are the Massachusetts Hill and Allison Ranch. 
The first of these is from a vein of about one foot or fourteen inches 
in width, and has produced, in connection with its continuation the 
Gold Hill vein, upwards of seven millions dollars worth of gold ; 
while the Allison Ranch had produced, between the spring of 1857, 
and the winter of 1861, from a vein which will only average ten 
inches in width, some eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and 
since that time probably as much more. In the more northern part 
of the State, in Plumas County, are some very successful mines, 
which are situated in the granite formation ; and although this dis- 
trict has been worked for only a few years, the veins give good indi- 
tation of permanence, and excellent results may be expected from 
this almost " unprospected " region. 
19* 



442 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 



COST AND PROFITS OF GOLD MINING IN CALIFORNIA. 

The profits realized from quartz mining adventures, besides de- 
pending in a great measure upon the absolute yield of the rock, are 
affected by the cost of extraction from the mine, which, when the 
wall rock is hard and the vein narrow, runs up sometimes as high 
as twenty-six dollars a ton. No general average can be given for 
this item, and every mine is governed by circumstances peculiar to 
itself It is different, however, with regard to milling; here we 
have accurate data to follow, which are not much affected by change 
of local'ity. It is rare that the expense of treating the quartz, after 
it leaves the mine, exceeds three dollars per ton in a steam mill, and 
in some mills, which are moved by water power, this item is only 
about seventy cents a ton. As a general thing, however, it may be 
considered that it requires quartz yielding eight dollars a ton, when 
both the mine and mill are situated under favorable conditions, to 
cover the expense of mining and milling. Therefore, when the 
vein is of moderate size, say five or six feet in width and water 
power can be employed, quartz yielding ten dollars per ton may 
be regarded as valuable, and affording a certain profit. 

In 1 86 1, the production of the quartz mines throughout the State 
was about six millions of dollars ; this year it will probably be eight 
millions of dollars ; and the total production in gold of th« Ameri- 
can possessions on the Pacific Coast will not be far, in round num- 
bers, from fifty millions of dollars. 

SILVER MINING IN NEVADA. 

As I before remarked, the best of these mines in California have 
heretofore been owned, almost exclusively, by Californians, who are 
well acquainted with their value, and therefore comparatively little 
eastern capital has been invested in them. It is not so, however, 
with the silver mines of Nevada ; and at present a very large pro- 
portion of the stock of the incorporated companies, working upon 
the Comstock vein, is held in the Atlantic cities. I have con- 
sequently thought it well to devote far more space to these mines, 
than to those which possess at present merely a local interest for 
the public. 

Although since the discovery of silver in Nevada, several districts 
have sprung rapidly into notice, and enjoyed an ephemeral notoriety 
the "Washoe" region still maintains its pre-eminence, and there 
seems every reason to suppose that the supremacy which it now en- 
joys will not be seriously interfered with by any of the districts of 
less repute. The average monthly production of the four principal 
mining centers of Nevada has been, during the first nine months of 
the present year, very nearly as follows ; and this shows better than 
any other means their relative importance : — 

Washoe (Virginia and Gold Hill districts), . $1,236,275, 

Austin (Reese River district), 75-000. 

Aurora (Esmeralda district), I9,ooq 

Unionville (Humboldt district), 1,282. 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SILVER MINES. 443 



THE COMSTOCK LODE AND ITS PRODUCTS. 

From the time of the first discovery of the Comstock lode in 
1859, the annual production of silver continued to increase regularly 
until within the last few months, when the yield of the Virginia and 
Gold Hill districts began to diminish very materially, and grave ap- 
prehensions have been excited in the minds of many persons, lest 
these mines were giving out, and fears were entertained that they 
would cease to pay their expenses. 

The decrease in the production of the mines of Nevada was most 
marked between the months of May and July, when the falling off 
was nearly eighteen thousand pounds avoirdupois, or about nine 
tons, and the value of the bullion forwarded to San Francisco, dur- 
ing the quarter ending September 30th, was about one million dol- 
lars less than that of the previous quarter. The approximate yield 
of all these mines for the first nine months of this year has been 
nearly as follows : — 

Pounds 
avoirdupois. Value. 

January, . ^ . . . -. 54,123, ) 

February, 59, 106, > $4,434,669. 

March, 64,737, • ) 

April, 61,179, ^ 

May, 58^453. \ $4,261,811. 

J^ne, 49,979, ) 

July, 41,526, ) 

August, 44,927, \ $3,224,951. 

September, . . . . . 40,278, ) 

The principal cause of the large yield for the month of March 
was the discovery and opening up in the "Yellow Jacket" mine, of 
a valuable deposit of ore, which lasted into June, but since that 
time the production of this mine has decreased considerably. In 
nearly every mine on the Comstock, from the "Ophir" to the 
"Belcher," the lower workings show ore which is of a poorer qual- 
ity and much inferior in quantity to what was found in some of the 
upper levels. In view of these facts, it becomes an interesting mat- 
ter to ascertain what are the probabilities of discovering new and 
valuable deposits, as the explorations are continued in depth, and 
also what quantity of ore now exists in the upper works, which are 
now furnishing nearly all the daily supplies. 

Both these Questions are exceedingly difficult to decide. In form- 
ing an opinion with regard to the first, we must reason entirely from 
analogy and apply to Washoe the experience acquired by mining in 
other countries ; and the difficulties which surround the latter are 
also great, owing to the peculiar and irregular manner in which the 
deposits of ore occur ; therefore, what follows with regard to the 
present condition of these mines must be regarded more as the ex- 
pression of a personal opinion, rather than an infallible conclusion, 
the correctness of which may at any time be destroyed by the dis-- 



444 ACROSS THE CONTINENT.. 

covery of new bodies of ore in ground heretofore unexplored. It 
is only by repeated examinations, made at short intervals of time, 
that a true idea can be obtained of the value of the daily or weekly 
developments made in the progress of working one of these mines. 

It has never been the policy of any of the companies of Virginia 
and Gold Hill, to keep reserves of ore on hand, which would furnish 
supplies when any particular deposit was exhausted. They con- 
sulted, merely, what appeared to them to be the interest of the 
moment, and assumed that each new body of ore, which they met 
in the progress of working, was inexhaustible. Thus a result, which 
was easy to foresee, has now taken place. Nearly all the mines on 
the Comstock, from the "Ophir" to the "Belcher," fin^ themselves, 
almost simultaneously, either without ore in their lower works, or 
else what they have is of such inferior quality that they are obliged 
to await the result of future explorations. To use a Mexican term, 
they are no longer in bonanza. 

It may be well, before speaking of any individual mine, to de- 
scribe, without too much detail, some of the peculiar features of the 
Comstock lode, as shown by the extensive workings which have 
been made upon it during the last five years. The Comstock vein 
is situated on the eastern slope of Mount Davidson, at an elevation 
of some six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, 
and about one thousand eight hundred feet above the valley of the 
Carson River, while the mountain rises behind it on the west to a 
hight of one thousand six hundred feet. Directly on its course lie 
the cities of Virginia and Gold Hill. The vein is formed in a fis- 
sure at the junction of two formations of different Hthological char- 
acters, and has a direction very nearly north and south. The West- 
ern Country rock, as it is termed, and which forms the foot wall of 
the vein, has a dip towards the east of from forty degrees to sixty 
degrees, and is a greenstone porphyry, containing a large propor- 
tion of hornblende, hard and compact in its texture. The Eastern 
Country consists of a much softer feldspathic porphyry, devoid of 
hornblende. As we proceed eastward from the vein, this feld- 
spathic porphyry is overlaid by trachyte. In some places, particu- 
larly opposite the northern portion of the vein, this porphyritic belt 
is of great width, and in front of the "Ophir" and "California" 
mines, it is probably two thousand feet wide. As w^e go south, how- 
ever, towards the Gold Hill claims, it becomes narrower, until op- 
posite the "Yellow Jacket," its width scarcely exceeds five hundred 
feet. vStill farther south, it rapidly widens again, and in front of the 
"Uncle Sam," it is at least one thousand feet wide. The green- 
stone porphyry of the Western Country is recognized as being emi- 
nently a mineral bearing formation, and possesses a striking re- 
semblance, in its lithological characters, to the rock that encases 
the veins of some of the most noted silver producing districts of 
the world, which, after being successfully worked for many centuries, 
have obtained a conspicuous celebrity, and are still regarded as 
most persistent, continuing as they do to furnish their metalliferous 
contents to as great a depth as has yet been attained by mining. 

On the surface of the ground, the vein appears in places to be 
split up and broken into several distinct portions. In the mines of 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SILVER MINES. 445 

Virginia, the most eastern of these bodies is nearly vertical for sev- 
eral hundred feet below the surface, while in many of those in Gold 
Hill, it is sensibly parallel to the more western body, which every- 
where lies upon the hard compact country rock, and dips with great 
regularity towards the east. The western body, being as a general 
thing more metalliferous, is not so liable to be affected by atmos- 
pheric agencies, and on account of its greater hardness has pre- 
served a marked prominence above the surface of the ground, while 
on the other Hand, the more eastern and mineral bearing portion of 
the lode is comparatively soft and friable, and has generally been 
degraded to the level of the surface of the ground, and in some 
places it is completely covered by detritus. The distance, which 
separates these two principal bodies, is sometimes as much as six 
hundred feet, as is the case back of the "Ophir," where the promi- 
nent croppings are known as the Virginia, and are quite non-metal- 
liferous. Back of the " Gould & Curry," the croppings are known 
as the " E^Dorado " vein. As these are all, so far as yet explored, 
non-productive masses of quartz, they possess no value for mining 
purposes ; still, owing to the fact that they were more marked and 
prominent, "locations" were made upon them, at an earlier date 
than upon the richer portions ' of the lode ; and although these 
bodies, which appear separate and distinct near the surface, con- 
verge towards each other and meet, forming one vein at an incon- 
siderable depth, much litigation to the Virginia companies was 
caused by this apparent plurality of veins, and has given rise to 
many suits involving the question of "one or two ledges." All 
recent developments have, however, gone to prove that, although 
on the surface, there are many bodies of quartz, more or less met- 
alliferous, separated frorn each other by clay and fragments of 
porphyry, these blend together on descending, and form one and 
the same vein. 

Towards the west the main vein becomes incorporated with a 
large mass of quartz, associated v/ith a reddish brown ferruginous 
clay, which has caused the name of the "red lead" to be given to 
this portion of the mine. Occasionally this "red lead" is impreg- 
nated with small quantities of sulphuret of silver, but in the " Ophir " 
it has never been found of a sufficient amount to ]:^y for working. 
As we proceed 'X)uth, however, this "red lead," in many places, 
proves productive, as in the "Gould & Curry" and "Savage" 
mines, but it is, even here, separated by a considerable distance 
from the most western body, which is still barren. 

In the "Chollar" and Gold Hill claims, the back vein or Western 
Country ore begins to prove productive, though the more eastern 
body continues to preserve its superiority. The large space, which 
separates the most easterly portion from the back vein, is filled with 
bodies of quartz, separated from each other by fragments of por- 
phyry, technically termed "horses," which are frequently of great 
size, and have been detached from the two walls. These " horses " 
are surrounded by seams of clay of various colors and thicknesses, 
and, in consistency, resemble that which forms the eastern and 
western selvages of the vein. 

The mines extend along the course of the Comstock vein for a 



446 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

distance of more than two miles. It is not in every place where 
explorations have been undertaken that they have proved profit- 
able ; in some, ore has been found of the greatest richness near .the 
surface ; in others, it is only at considerable depth that anything of 
value has been discovered; while elsewhere works, after having 
been prosecuted for months, have been abandoned as hopeless. 
This is the history of all mineral bearing veins in other countries. 
Some portions are rich and valuable, while others are barren and 
worthless ; and certainly there is no silver producing fegion in the 
world, that has ever yielded so large an amount of bullion in so 
short a space of time, as that district on the Comstock, lying between 
the "Ophir" on the north, in Virginia, and the "Belcher" on the 
south, in Gold Hill. 

In the working of these mines, however, no regular system of ex- 
ploitation has ever been pursued ; so that, in the wide space between 
the eastern and western walls, many valuable deposits were over- 
looked in the progress of working, and since the lower levels have in 
some cases ceased to prove profitable, the upper works have been 
more thoroughly prospected, and generally with very excellent results. 

THE GOULD AND CURRY MINE. 

The "Gould & Curry" Company have a location of twelve hun- 
dred feet upon the course of the vein, or rather their stock repre- 
sents this number; but in reality the whole actual length of the 
claim is only nine hundred and sixty feet, owing, I believe, to an 
error of measurement between the original bounds. Of this nine 
hundred and sixty feet, no more than about four hundred feet of the 
southern end has ever been productive ground ; and, although the 
balance has been thoroughly prospected on the north, towards the 
"Best" and "Belcher," it is an accepted conclusion that no reliance 
can be placed upon this portion of the claim, as furnishing any sup- 
plies of ore in the future, unless at a much greater depth than has yet 
been obtained. The ore producing portion of this mine has been 
hitherto confined to that triangular space comprised between the 
surface of the ground, the "El-Dorado" vein, as indicated by the 
croppings, and the eastern clay selvage, a short distance west of the 
Bonner shaft. The main workings of the mine were upon an ex- 
ceedingly rich body of ore about three hundred and fifty feet long, 
and which extended to the south end of the company's claim, where 
it adjoins the "Savage." This deposit was formerly worked with 
the greatest extravagance, and, until the management of Mr. Bonner, 
absolutely no works of exploration had been kept in advance of those 
of extraction, so that, when he took charge of the mine in June, 
1864, he found himself with apparently nothing to work upon, and 
only those portions of the older works, which were considered as 
being exhausted, from which to draw his supplies of ores, and these, 
owing to ineffective timbering, were rapidly caving in. He imme- 
diately commenced prospecting the ground below the "adit level," 
and also in the neighborhood of the old workings. He was fbrtu- 
nate to discover, in many parts of the mine which had been entirely 
abandoned, comparatively small bodies of ore of inferior richness 
to those which formerly rendered this mine so celebrated ; and it is 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SILVER MINES. 44/ 

these which have kept the works in existence since that time. He 
also commenced a new shaft outside the limits of the vein on the 
east, for the purpose of prospecting the ground to a much greater 
depth than had been attained by any previous exploration. This 
shaft is now six hundred and thirty-five feet below the D street tun- 
nel, but its bottom is not yet in the vein. Only one drift has as yet 
been run from the shaft west towards the vein. This is at a depth 
oi two hundred feet below the adit. Although the fissure is filled 
with barren, unproductive matter, where it is intersected by this 
drift, it is still of good width, and is not far from one hundred and 
thirty feet between the two walls. The work of sinking this shaft 
still further, and developing the ground by means of drifts, is being 
continually prosecuted. 

All the ore that is now being taken from this mine comes from 
the croppings or the upper levels on both sides of the old work- 
ings, and discoveries have frequently been made in this unexplored 
gi'ound, which were not anticipated, so that it is impossible to pre- 
dict with any degree of certainty how long these supplies will last ; 
but there is very little doubt that there is sufficient ore in the mine, 
and in sight, to continue the. present monthly production of about 
four thousand five hundred tons for at least four months. Other 
deposits may be met with which will furnish supplies for a longer 
time ; but this is all that can be relied upon with certainty. The 
affairs of the company, both above and below ground, appear now 
to be managed with skill and economy, and afford a striking con- 
trast to what was formerly the case, during the first years of the 
history of this mine. 

Immediately adjoining the "Gould & Curry" on the south is the 
"Savage." The principal workings in this mine have been upon 
a continuation of the rich body of ore found in the " Gould & Curry." 
In this latter mine, the deposit had a general dip towards the south 
of about twenty degrees, and, although the most valuable portion 
was some distance north of the boundary line, it still continued to 
furnish a large amount of rich ore. The greater bulk of this has 
now been worked out, and explorations are being prosecuted on 
every side of the old workings, where there is any prospect that de- 
IX)sits may have been overlooked. As a general thing, these have 
been very successful, and several bodies of ore have been discovered 
within the last few months, the existence of which was not suspected, 
while the mine was in more prosperous circumstances. The lowest 
workings are four hundred and forty-five feet from the surface, and 
the body of ore which has been laid open has not yet been suffi- 
ciently developed to enable me to form a positive opinion, with 
regard to its value and probable duration. As yet, however, there 
are no such indications as would lead one to suppose that this body 
of ore will prove anything like so valuable and extensive as those 
found in the upper works. 

THE OPHIR MINE. 

In the "Ophir" mine, the appearance of the lower workings is 
gloomy in the extreme. The main shaft is now down to a depth of 
five hundred and eighty-six feet from the surface. At the bottom 



44^ ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

of this, there is a sump twenty-one feet deep, making in all a depth 
of six hundred and six feet from the surface. At the ninth level or 
live hundred and eighty-six feet from the surface, the fissure is 
twenty-two feet wide, but contains no ore, and is filled with clay and 
fragments of porphyry ; in fact nothing of value has been discovered 
in this mine in the progress of sinking below the level of the seventh 
gallery, or for a distance of one hundred and sixty-seven feet. All 
the ore, which is now being extracted, amounting to from forty to 
fifty <-ons a day, is taken from the upper works near and above the 
seventh level. How long these supplies will last, it is utterly im- 
possible to predict. Two years ago those persons who were most 
familiar with this mine were unable to see ore for more than eight 
months' supply ; and since that time the production, although greatly 
diminished, has been maintained so as to pay all ordinary expenses. 
It is obviously, however, a mere question of time, and a few months 
more work must exhaust all the ore above the level of the "Latrobe 
Tunnel," so that the final prospects of this mine are entirely de- 
pendent upon what will be met with after sinking still farther to the 
east. 

OTHER LEADING MINES. 

Like the "Ophir," "Gould & Curry" and "Savage," the "Chol- 
lar-Potosi" company have been obliged to commence and sink a 
new shaft in the Eastern Country, some distance to the east of the 
vein, in order to avoid the great expense of working in the hard 
Western Country. It is expected that by means of this shaft, when 
completed, the vein can be developed to a depth of at least eight 
hundred feet. The principal exploitations in this mine are in what 
are known as the old Bajazet workings, about one hundred and forty 
feet south of the north line of the claim. Here the pay seam varies 
in width from ten to twenty-five feet, and has been developed on a 
face of nearly one hundred and thirty-five feet. About forty tons a 
day are being extracted from this portion of the mine, which is worth 
forty dollars a ton. About thirty-five tons a day are now being 
taken from workings at a depth of one hundred and fifty feet from 
the surface, which are being continued upwards. This body is now 
eight feet wide and some two hundred and fifty feet in length, and 
there seems every probability that there is now sufficient ore in 
sight, of an apparent average value of thirty-five dollars a ton, to 
last nearly a year. The lowest workings in this mine are at a depth 
of four hundred and eighty-fi.ve feet ; and on the lower levels the 
ore is still of an excellent quality, so that there is a fair prospect of 
these works continuing to furnish ore to a considerably greater 
depth than has yet been attained. 

The "Hale & Norcross" company, whose claim adjoins on the 
north, is now down to a depth of seven hundred feet, and in drifting 
south they discovered an excellent deposit of ore which, however, 
was found to be upon the ground of the "Chollar-Potosi." This 
was at a depth of one hundred and sixty-five feet below the lowest 
workings of this latter company. 

The profits of the "Chollar-Potosi" mine for the month of Sep- 
tember last, were seventeen thousand two hundred and forty-one 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SILVER MINES. 449 

dollars, and were realized from the sale and milling of about four 
thousand two hundred tons. The ore yielded in the mill from thirtv- 
three dollars to forty dollars per ton. 

In the "Imperial" mine, the lo'trer station is five hunched ana 
eighty-seven feet from the surface. The present daily extraction 
from this mine is now about one hundred tons, worth say thirty-five 
dollars a ton. Seventy feet above the lower station in the old work- 
ings, there are supplies of ore for perhaps six weeks ; and in the 
lower works, the pay seam has a mean width of about twenty-seven 
feet, and continues through the whole length of the claim, or sevett 
hundred and eighteen feet. This will probably furnish ore enough 
for from four to six months' workings. No works of prospecting in 
depth are being carried on, and the shaft is in such bad condition, 
that, should the coming winter prove wet, serious apprehensions 
would be entertained of a cave, which would oblige work to be sus« 
pended. It is contemplated to sink a new shaft, some distance ta 
the east of the present one in the solid Eastern Country ; but it has 
not yet been commenced. 

The lower works of the " Empire " do not present so good an ap- 
pearance as those of the "Imperial." The fifth and lowest station 
is at a depth of six hundred and fifteen feet. Between the second 
and third stations, all the ore has been worked out; between th^ 
third and fourth, nearly all, except what has been left to support it3 
shaft ; and between the fourth and fifth, there are about fifty-six feet 
of ore that is undisturbed. With the exception of what may b« 
ultimately met with in sinking still farther, the main reliance of this 
mine is from a body ot unexplored ground within one hundred and 
fhirty feet of the surface. This is about one hundred and eightj 
feet high, seventy-five feet long and fifty feet wide, and I understand 
that, since I examined the mine, this ground has afforded some good 
ore. Preparations are being made for sinking still farther, but a 
wet winter vnW be likely to affect disastrously this mine, as well as 
all others in Gold Hill proper. 



THE FUTURE OF THE COMSTOCK MINES. 

Now what are the probabilities of finding new deposits of ore in 
these mines, as the works are pursued in depth ? It is now an ac- 
cepted conclusion by all those persons, who have examined the 
matter carefully, and have had the most experience in geological as 
well as general mining matters, that the Comstock is a fissure vein' 
of extraordinary width and productiveness, and, consequently, rea- 
soning from analogy, we have great right to assume that ore exists 
and will ultiiiiately be found at as great a depth as it is possible to 
extend underground workings. In fact, there is no instance, where 
a well defined fissure vein has been found terminating entirely in 
depth ; and although nothing is more frequent in the progress of 
working than to meet with barren zones of unproductive matter, 
their metalliferous contents have never been exhausted at any depth, 
which has yet been obtained by mining. The limit to the successful 
working of one of these veins appears to be fixed entirely by the 
increased cost of extraction of the ore, and pumping the water from 

29 



450 ACROSS THE CONTINENT. 

the lower levels, and consequent reduction of the profits. There is 
a point, of course, where, in the absence of new discoveries of in- 
creased value, the receipts will exactly counterbalance the expenses 
of working ; and then soon these latter will exceed the former. 

Nearly all the silver producing mines of Mexico are upon fissure 
veins, and the principal one of them, the "Jeta Madre" of Guan- 
axuato, has many points of resemblance to the Comstock. It has 
been actively worked for more than a hundred and twenty-five years, 
and in the year 1803 the depth attained in one mine upon its course, 
"the Valenciana," was about twelve hundred feet, which is below 
the point at which nearly all the mines in Mexico cease to pay a 
profit on account of the largely increased expenses of working. But 
owing to the great width of this vein, which does not, however, ex- 
ceed that of the Comstock, works have been successfully continued 
to a depth of two thousand feet, and it is now the deepest mine on 
this Continent. During its history, there have been periods of pro- 
found depression, and the rich bonanzas, which gave it a prominent 
celebrity throughout Mexico, and have made it an historical mine, 
were at times replaced by ore of merely average value, and occa- 
sionally by vein matter that was entirely unproductive ; still, work 
was prosecuted in depth, and the discovery of new deposits rewarded 
the efforts and enterprise of the owners. 

Nearly every mine of importance in the world will show a similar 
record. In fact, all indications with regard to the continuance of 
mineral deposits, and the discovery of new ores of increased rich- 
ness, are acknowledged to be of a doubtful character ; and there 
seems to be no department of human science, which will enable us 
to fix with certainty the limits of possible success or possible disap- 
pointment ; and thus it is only after long and fruitless explorations 
that we can decide whether labor should cease, and the works be 
abandoned. 

The Freiberg mines in Germany present another interesting ex- 
ample of veins of this character continuing in richness to a great 
depth. The mean depth to which they have been w^orked is now 
about twelve hundred feet, and although continually increasing, it 
does not appear that there has been any falling off during long pe- 
riods in the average yield of the ores for the last three centuries. 

The silver mines of Andreasberg in the Hartz have been worked 
since 1520, with varying success and profit. At the beginning of 
the present century, the workings were down to a depth of one 
thousand five hundred feet, and since that time a depth of two 
thousand five hundred feet has been attained. Although it is iio\i 
generally conceded that these famous mines have become exhausted, 
the cause api>ears to be entirely owing to the fact of the lodes and 
mineral bearing portion having been intersected by a cross vein of 
an older geological formation, consisting of schist and barren clay; 
and the probability of this being ultimately the case has been known 
and predicted for years. In Hungary, the silver and gold mines 
of Schemnitz have been worked since the year 735, and accurate 
records with regard to their seasons of success and depression ex- 
tend back as far as the latter part of the fifteenth century. Al- 
though the ore is much inferior in richness to that even now being 



SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS: SILVER MINES. 451 

taken from the Comstock, the limits of depth to which they have 
been successfully worked would seem to have depended entirely 
upon the increased cost entailed by the pumping of water ; but the 
utmost confidence has always prevailed with regard to the continu- 
ance of ore to any depth that it might be possible to carry the un- 
derground explorations; and works of great expense have been 
undertaken on several occasions to drain the mines by means of 
adits. The first of these was commenced about three hundred and 
fifty years ago, another forty years later, which was not completed 
for two hundred and seventy years, and still more recently, in 1782, 
a new tunnel was commenced, and not yet terminated, which will 
be about nine miles in length and had already cost in 1850 over a 
million of dollars. This, when completed, will enable the mines to 
be worked to a depth of fifteen hundred feet. The total, length of 
the adits, which have been constructed for the purpose of draining 
these mines during the last three centuries, is not less than forty 
miles. 

Works like these, involving so much time, labor and expense, are 
never undertaken without securing beforehand the best mining tal- 
ent, which the country affords, and all go to prove that the utmost 
reliance is placed on the continuance of these veins in depth, and 
that the great object is to secure economy of working, so as to 
enable greater profits to be realized from the treatment of the ores. 
Within the last five years upwards of thirty-five millions dollars 
worth of bullion have been taken out and thrown upon the markets 
of the world, from the mines of Virginia and Gold Hill, in Nevada ; 
and if we consider the wasteful extravagance of the methods for- 
merly employed for working the ores, it is safe to assume that not 
more than sixty per cent, of the value of the precious metals was 
secured, and consequently ore containing silver and gold to the 
amount of nearly sixty millions dollars has been extracted from the 
mines of a district not more than two miles in length. The " Gould 
& Curry" alone has furnished fourteen millions dollars, and although 
we must not estimate the present value of a mine from what it has 
produced, yet it would be assuming the occurrence of a most extra- 
ordinary natural phenomenon to suppose that all this vast amount 
of mineral wealth had been segregated within a space of three hun- 
dred and fifty feet in length, by less than five hundred in depth, and 
that no more remained behind to reward future explorations. In 
view of these facts, although nearly every mine on the Comstock 
has passed through a rich body of ore or bonanza, we have strong 
reasons for presuming that other deposits will be met within the 
limits of profitable working. The average depth of these mines is 
not yet more than five hundred feet, and ores yielding thirty-five 
dollars per ton will allow works to be carried to a depth of from 
one thousand to one thousand two hundred feet, and still leave a 
small margin for profit. 

As a general thing, these mines have been worked heretofore, not 
so much with reference to the permanent interests of the stockhold- 
ers, as for the purpose of raising the market value of the stock. 
With this view, it has frequently happened that circumstances deeply 
affecting the interests of the mines have been concealed from the 



452 ACROSS THE CONTINENT, 

public, and the policy has hitherto been to increase the production 
as largely as possible, in order to enable certain persons to realize 
immediately great profits from the sale of their stock, rather than 
await the slower and perhaps more hazardous return which it was 
expected would be afforded by dividends. This is the only excuse, 
or rather reason, why, in the midst of mines yielding so enormously, 
no proportion of the gain in their more prosperous days was ever 
devoted to the purposes of exploration, and the necessity of keeping 
these works in advance of those of extraction seems never to have 
entered the minds of those persons who were called upon to fill the 
positions of trustees to the various companies, until the receipts be- 
gan to be inferior to the expenses. A very different policy from that 
which prevailed heretofore now governs the administration of these 
mines, and the experience that has been gained during the last five 
years is beginning to show itself in more economical management 
and better divided labor. Easy access can be obtained to the mines, 
and the financial position of the companies can generally be ascer- 
tained without difficulty. In very many ways, the situation of these 
companies is much more satisfactory than it was two or three years 
siace. The titles to their mining ground have, as a general thing, 
been perfected, although frequently at an enormous expense, and 
now the profits accruing from the working of the ores can be de- 
voted either to the payment of dividends, or to the farther develop- 
ment of the mines; and those who are familiar with the frightful 
expenditures, which have been incurred for litigation, being in some 
cases more than the total receipts from the mines themselves, are 
able to form some idea what an important item of expense has ceased 
to exist. Again, many of the companies, that were accustomed to 
employ outside mills for working their ores, now possess mills of 
their own, in which the cost of treatment is barely one-half what it 
was formerly. 

In addition to these important gains, the influence of which is al- 
ready being felt, several projects have been set on foot that cannot 
fail, when completed, to increase the value of the mining properties 
upon the course of the Comstock vein, by enabling the companies 
to work their ores much more cheaply, and realize profits from those 
which are now of too low a grade to be extracted from the mine 
or. treated in the mills. At the head of these enterprises is without 
doubt what is known as the "Sutro Tunnel." This is a project for 
draining the mines upon the Comstock by means of an adit some 
three and one-half miles in length, and which will strike the vein at 
a depth of nearly one thousand nine hundred feet below the out- 
crops. Its importance cannot be too highly estimated as affording 
a permanent, economical drainage to such a great depth, and it is to 
be hoped that the projectors of this scheme will meet with the en- 
couragement which they deserve. 

I am Yours Very Respectfully, 

WILLIAM ASHBURNER, 

Mining Engineer. 
San Francisco, 
November, 1865. 



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